Darjeeling/Agra Day 4

5:00: Woken up by town clock.
5:30: Awake but no drummer boy!
5:45: Got up anyway but couldn’t help wonder what happened to the drummer boy. Is Thursday his day off? Did he sleep in?

I know I sound like I am repeating myself but it was yet another beautiful sunrise over the Himalayas.
We set off at 9:00am, planning to go to two monasteries but on our way we decided to go to Tiger Hill. It was still clear and we were leaving the next day. Getting up there for sunrise wasn’t a big deal to us so off we went.

There was no traffic going up the hill and it took us only about 40 minutes from Darjeeling. Such a great decision – it was warm and no crowds when we got there. Our driver pointed out Mt. Everest right away – just a small peak showing itself in the distance. The Indian Himalayas were giants from this perspective, but it was exciting for the four of us to see Everest. A little different driving 40 min. to see Mt. Everest compared to when Michael and I trekked in Nepal to Everest Base Camp – 2 weeks!
Here is a photo of Mt. Everest from Tiger Hill:

Spent a bit of time up on Tiger Hill and then set off for the two monasteries. First, the Yiga Choeling Monastery is one of the oldest in the area dating back to 1850. One of the few monasteries where you can take photos inside (10rp/photo).

The second monastery that we visited was the Dali Monastery, also known as Druk Thupten Sangag Choeling Monastery. 
200 monks study and pray here and the Dalai Lama inagaurated it in 1993. We were there early in the afternoon and lots of monks of all ages were milling about – at the coffee shop, outside on benches or peeking out of their classrooms.
We ended up going back to the Dali Monastery 4:30 – 6:00pm for prayers.
We sat in a corner while 200 monks chanted, drummed, played the horns and cymbals. We had lots of time to admire the paintings on the walls, the carvings, and three huge Bhuddist statues that oversaw everything. Midway through, some of the younger monks showed up all of a sudden with kettles full of tea. They served all the monks (their tea cups hidden in their desks) and then they kindly came and served us as well.

There is nothing like the sounds of the monks chanting, along with their unique sounding instruments. A part of India like no other – impressive. Here Michael is holding a smaller version of the drum used by the monks:

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