In the Fields

A poem written whilst walking the fields in the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe, Karnataka State, South India. Image is from TDL Dickey Larsoe with the sun setting in the West.

pilgrim hill lines
in the distance
within their shape
lies explained

open fields
monks and people
walk the ridges
snakes, soil and
mantra bridges
curl upon the
tractor coils

beneath the stars
life defined
shadows trace
secret signs

Flybus – Kempegowda to Mysore

By the time we got to Bangalore it was indeed just gone 7 and with the baggage claim scenario to go through we could both chill in the knowledge that the 7.15 Flybus was gonna be impossible to catch. We would just have to settle for the one at 9, take our time in gettin’ on through before the last stages of a journey which started early morning in the misty hill city of Gangtok capital of Sikkim. Of course it was barely an inconvenience, the extra wait that is, as we were able to have a little bit to eat an’ drink after sorting out our Flybus tickets by way of buying them at the Flybus kiosk, storing our luggage in the hold of the bus which was on the stand fully parked up, ready an’ waitin’ to take us west. Turned out to be a pleasant hour or two, sittin’ outside the airport enjoying the balmy evening weather, plenty of seats, plenty of tasty lookin’ food and drinks stands busy with people. It was fun to be chillin’ after the thrill of having made it outta the hills, back to the heat, back to the plains of the south. Back to Bangalore, Indian mega city with serious splashes of high tech around its edges, a city which was now an overwhelming experience to drive through in terms of size – highway chaos, endless crowds, a million high rise apartment blocks – as if every time you blink your eyes another ten new vistas of the inexplicable appear on the horizon.

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Gangtok to Bengaluru in a Day

Scrum bubble of a journey saw us take 19.5 hours to get back down to the settlement of Bylakuppe in the state of Karnataka from the city of Gangtok in the state of Sikkim. Day previous was the last day of our hill tour, a time of checking out a couple of sight-see places on the edge of town, Hanuman Tok and Ganesh Tok with its views of the city, along with the usual strollin’ down MG Marg, although we didn’t spend as much time down there as the day before because it was a Saturday, the day when the shops are shut on the MG Marg because they are open on Sunday instead. So it was an end of journey day, energies now runnin’ a little bit low after a week of roamin’ from here to there up the hills – Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Gangtok – taking in the views, rock n’ rollin’ rides and all that goes with those rides such as a bad stomach from food eaten the day before and an achin’ nut because of the altitude.

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This piece was written during a trip made to Ramanasramam in the holy temple town of Tiruvannamalai in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. It is specifically about a couple of walks made up to Skandasramam, the cave behind on the holy hill of Arunachala and where Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi stayed for 7 years from 1915 – 1922. Towards the end of the piece reference is made to the red flame vision described in my previous blog entry, Honey Valley.

First Walk

My early morning meditation began later than usual due to my late night struggles to get back on track, but I was in the meditation hall by 6 am where I had a solid hour of sitting whilst feeling in a good state of recovery. Concentration good, body pacified and back to the breath! Skipped breakfast as I wanted a couple more hours for my stomach to feel fully settled, instead I went and had a large glass of coffee from the tea bar across the road from the ashram entrance. Cost me 20 rupees which was a bit of a rip off price, but it was good to sit there for a while and watch the early morning street life pass on by outside the ashram. I realised the sound of the lorries had not bothered me half as much the night before, maybe that was because I had other things on my mind such as my guts. Probably would be the case that if I stayed round the ashram long enough I would not even notice those lorries were there as everything would eventually blend into one.

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Honey Valley

Extracted from a diary account of time spent in India. This piece was written during a short trip made to the Honey Valley Estate in the Coorg hills in Karnataka, not far from the town of Varajpet and region of Kakkabe. In certain parts it describes a flame vision which I had been experiencing in my meditation for a number of weeks and which was particularly noticeable up there in the hills. It turns the nature of this vision was resolved for me later in the trip when I went across to the Ramanasramam in the holy temple town of Tiruvannamalai which is in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India.

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Saraswathipuram III

The third of a three part account of a day trip to Mysore and the Saraswathipuram area of town in order to buy furniture.

After that second battery charge in Saraswathipuram our luck finally ran out on one of the main roads out of town, the Hunsur road, just opposite the offices of the Mysore Deputy Police Commissioner. The Mahindra simply died on us and we came to a complete halt on what was a very busy road, so busy in fact that it soon became apparent that it was quite a dangerous spot to have broken down. This was compounded by the fact it was now Mysore rush hour time and the traffic was heavy, full on relentless as a matter of fact. It was now dark and there were plenty of vehicles trying to move along at speed, shining their bright lights directly at us as we stood about feeling like sitting ducks on the roadside next to the Mahindra. After trying for quite a long time, Sonam Tashi somehow managed to get through to the Mahindra garage in Mysore which was still open despite the fact it was now gone 7 on a Saturday evening. The good news was they told him they would send round a Mahindra recovery truck, which would be painted a bright yellow and red, and that it would take about 45 minutes to reach us. There was then little else that we could do after Sonam Tashi’s phone call but continue to stand there by the side of the road, hoping like hell nothing crashed into the back of the Mahindra and took out a couple of us in the process.

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Saraswathipuram II

The second of a three part account of a day trip to Mysore and the Saraswathipuram area of town in order to buy furniture.

After the four of us had an enjoyed a leisurely and very tasty lunch at the Shree Devi Andhra Style restaurant in the middle of Mysore we were all back in the Mahindra Scorpio driving across town in the direction of Saraswathipuram to again hunt out some more furniture.

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The first of a three part account of a day trip to Mysore and the Saraswathipuram area of town in order to buy furniture.

Well it was it was the four of us who made the trip up to Mysore from the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe in South India. There was me, my wife Dawa Dolkar, her brother Sonam Tashi and his daughter Passang Dawa and we all set off together in Sonam Tashi’s black Mahindra Scorpio after breakfast one morning for the two hour car ride to the Sandalwood City. It was with the express purpose of buying furniture for the newly constructed first floor of our house in the settlement. Specifically we were looking for wardrobes and beds for the bedrooms, plus a sofa set for our new spacious living room.

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Day on the road yesterday to Shrevanabelagola for the Jain mela, the Mahamastakabhisheka, and the anointment of the Bahubali Gommateshwara statue, something which happens once in every twelve years.

Left the house at 8 or just gone, after the usual pot of coffee with my wife on the veranda of our house in the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe in South India. Out and onto the Karnataka plains, me with Sonam Tashi behind the wheel. We were joined by an American, Adam Schmidt and a Tibetan, Nyima Dorjee. They were from a neighbouring house in the settlement over from the United States for a holiday in India and who were also coming along for the ride.

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Another Shatabdi

An account of a journey made on the Shatabdi Express from Mysore to Chennai in March 2017 with Anita for company and Black Ice from AC/DC on the cans.

The ride from the Tibetan settlement to Mysore was a quick one, as the road was relatively clear, it was a Sunday morning and the traffic seemed a little lighter than usual, although I knew that being in India things could change very quickly, that from almost out of nowhere you could suddenly feel you were slap bang in the middle of the busiest place in the world. We had a short stop at the Anapoorna, a well used restaurant which was by the side of the road in Hunsur, a town about halfway to Mysore from Bylakuppe. There both Anita and I had a double coffee which tasted pretty good – hot, strong and sweet – in the mid morning highway heat. It would keep us going until lunch time in Mysore that as for sure.

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