"Traveller, be my friend.
Tomorrow our path will be long and we may become exhausted.
Let us walk together.
New Era Community. Helena Roerich
In the summer of 1988 i visited the valley of Kulu, in Himachal Pradesh in Northern India. During that visit, i had the good fortune to stay very near the compound where the Russian painter and mystic Nicolas Roerich and his wife Helena lived for many years.
At that time, the Roerich's old servants were still living in the compound as care takers, and although the doors were open to the public for a few hours a day, there were long periods when no one was around, and it was possible to stroll through the lovely grounds or just sit somewhere and gaze out over the verdant Kulu valley.
By a stroke of good fortune i met a couple on my very first visit. These two people, one an American and the other a fellow kiwi like myself, happened to be strolling down the lane arm in arm just as i was coming out from the estate, and as westerners were not often seen in this quiet nook of the Kulu Valley, we naturally stopped and began to talk.
They had rented a house right near this estate for the summer months, both intending to write and have some quiet time in this lovely part of the valley. When they realized that i was hoping to do something similar they immediately offered me the small furnished flat on the first floor of this building, which, at that time was not in use.
It turned out to be a perfect arrangement. Having them both nearby meant we could often share golden evenings on their veranda in comfortable companionship. It would have been very problematic and possibly dangerous for me to try to stay in this area, as a woman alone, at that time.
Kulu is a fascinating old valley, and Nagar, where the Roerichs' estate is situated is nestled on the hillside a few kilometers south of Manali overlooking the valley with the blue thread of the bubbling Beas River winding it way down the centre of it all.
It is a magical location, with sweeping views up and down the valley and vistas of snow capped peaks all along. The air is redolent with the scent of cedar pine and incense. Dominating this village is an old castle that has now been turned into a heritage Hotel. However in its hey day this was the princely center of the valley and the seat where the local presiding Deities for the whole area are said to reside...
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