Dharamsala / Mcleod Ganj - The Buddhist Butlins
Trip Start Sep 15, 2007
59Trip End Jun 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
head to Dharamsala / McLeod Ganj to hang out for a while with the Dalai
Lama (Big D, D-Lo, Del boy.. whatever). Unfortunately the big man
himself wasn't at home as he obviously hadn't heard were coming and had
flown off to the USA to have a few words with George W about the
plight of his people. Bit of a cheek if you ask me.
Anyway, although this was a slight disappointment as it would have been
good to hear some of his lectures to the public we set about having a
around who all added to the generally laid-back atmosphere of the town.
The place on first impression seemed to be quite a mish-mash. On the
one hand it comes across as a truly spiritual and peaceful place but
then on the other, tourists were outnumbering the local residents and
there were rows upon rows of shops and stalls selling Tibetan jewellery
and handicrafts. Together these things asdded up to a rather strange
but not unpleasant atmosphere and actually after a day or two we felt
We mainly just pottered about, visiting the Dalai Lama's residence* and
other religious places. Our second hotel also offered us stunning views
at sunset (unlike our first which mainly just offered raw sewage on the
bathroom floor) as did our local bar and second home 'Xcite' who liked
to play some rather unorthodox compilations of Bryan Adams, early
Nirvana and Boney M
lesson learning to make 'Momos' (like Chinese dumplings) from a young
Tibetan womn named Rinchen who had walked over the Himalayas from Tibet
several years earlier to try to find a better life in India.
We also went on a couple of walks - the one with the guide went much
better than the one relying only on the 'map' which ended up with us hiding behind a bush from the midday heat after failing to find a non-existent footpath. We walked up about 1000m with our guide to reach a place called Triund at the top of a hill at
2900m. The hills here are brilliant in that there's always a tea shop
at the top. We'd brought a pic-nic though as both of our childhood
experiences had told us never to believe in such things - always a ruse
to keep children moving upwards. Anyway, the walk was about a 7 hour
round-trip and after nearly falling asleep into our dinner and packing
with our eyes closed we were ready for our next journey to Amritsar -
home of the famous Golden Temple.
* Can any of you tell me why the Buddist shrines are piled high with
confectionary? Mainly bourbons....