Is the Dalai Lama in?
Trip Start Sep 19, 2002
129Trip End Sep 22, 2003
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Mcleod Ganj is the home of the Tibetan government in exile and also the Dalai Lama. It is also home to a large Tibetan community. We were amazed at howdifferent this place was to the rest of India. The Tibetan people are very laid back and extremely friendly. It was so nice to go in to shops and not get hassled and to go to restaurants and be made to feel so welcome. We had considered doing a Tibetan cookery course here but after trying some traditional Tibetan food for dinner we changed our mind. We had chitze which was a type of noodle soup but was very bland and tasteless.
15th - Decided to visit the Tsuglagkhang complex which is the home of the Dalai Lama. I asked if he was coming out to play but his mum said he had homework to do(he is actually in his seventies really). First up we visited the small museum. This tells the story of Tibet but concentrates on the Chinese "liberation" of Tibet which started in 1949. Since that time 90% of Tibet's religious scripts and buildings have been destroyed and over a million people have died at the hands of the Chinese. This appalling treatment has caused many Tibetans to flee to India and Nepal. The only way for them to escape is on foot via the high himalayan passes. Many don't make it and many lose various limbs to frostbite.
We then visited the temple complex which is quite a simple building but seems to have a special aura about it. We saw many monks in their burgundy and saffron robes, many of whom are westerners escaping the rat race (thought about it but burgundy clashes with my green hair). I spun the prayer wheels which contain payers for merit and good luck - we'll see what happens.
That evening we had a great Italian meal in a restaurant run by a Tibetan family of course. We met up with an English couple who shared our feelings of frustration with India and the girl sympathised with LJ over losing her temper (although she had not actually hit anyone yet!).
16th - A lazy day in Mcleod going from one cafe to the next. It was so nice to sit about in the cool weather drinking tea and eating good food. We had decided to take the overnight bus to Delhi. On getting on the bus we found that other people had the same seat numbers as us but somehow everyone managed to get a seat. This was probably one of the worst journeys of our trip as the roads were so bumpy. We got absolutely no sleep on the 12 hour journey and felt battered and bruised. As usual LJ was desparate for the loo and so when we stopped at a petrol station that advertised toilets she jumped off. The toilets turned out to be a hole dug in the ground in a field out the back. Some indian women showed her how to use it and then watched (obviously) and sang to her in hindi as she went - how nice.
17th - As we arrived in Delhi we were met by the sight of countless people (all men) doing their morning ablutions by the side of the road. At 6 o'clock in the morning you do not want to see lines of men doing no.2s in full view of everyone! God I love India! We eventually managed to get to our hotel and immediately crashed into bed. We woke up for some lunch before crashing out again. Don't think we even made it out for tea!