The ride in the death car left me quite shaken on arrival to the Drepung Loseling monastery. It's proven to be worth it, though. This time, rather than staying in a separate guest house, we've been put up in one of the monk's houses, albeit in a room set aside for visitors. Our host is Geshe Sangye, a boyhood friend of our previous guide, Geshe Tsulga. Apparently he has instructions to give us the royal treatment, as the monks are pampering us hand and foot.
We did quite a lot of templing the first day, and also were taken to meet a high lama named Sharpa Choeji, who is in line to assume the leadership of the entire monastic order. Some of these monks exude a simplicity, peace, and kindness that defies description... really unlike any people I've ever met... almost other-worldly.
Although we have seen some fascinating sites here, our 2-day stay at this monastery is mostly to rest and regroup; it's been pretty much constant action since arriving 10 days ago, and I need a breather. I skipped out on yesterday morning's templing so I could sleep some more. This afternoon, we're headed out on what looks to be a pretty grueling trip: a 22 hour train trek up to Aurangabad. By all accounts, though, the destination will be worth every bit of suffering; the rock-cut caves of Ajanta and Ellora; the largest sculptural complexes in the world, covered with 2000-year old Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain carvings.