24th Feb '02........
At last, I'm now in Mc Leod ganj, in a cosy room at Tashi Khansang guesthouse on Bhagsu road. Sweet dreams, here I come....!
I took a walk in the dark dug up temple road - Maglite in hand - to see the Dalai lama residence. A guard gave me a good look so I scuttled back! Mc Leod Ganj is NOTHING like what I expected after reading my Lonely planet guide! The empty spaces on the map are FILLED with shops and houses, the so called roads are actually thin muddy (and slippery!) lanes! And most of all, the palce is teeming with activity!
25th Feb 2002.....
Wow! Slept like a log! I wonder when I last enjoyed a hot shower so much!! This room is paradise for 125 Rs a day - I say!
Made the trip to Tsughlakhang temple, sat and prayed (or at least attempted it!) alongwith the monks and ate the sweet rice with dates offered. Even had a glimpse of the Dalai Lama (14th) in his phoren snazzy grey sports car, rushing out of the residence.
It's a steep walk down to the Dip Tse Chokling monastery - but well worth it. The large prayer wheel has a little tullu on top which rings a bell everytime it makes a turn....cho cute!!
I'm busy hogging Tibetan food...momos, fried rice, noodles...the views from kailash hotel are great since I can see the chorten, budhist temple and street scene just across !
St. John in the Wilderness is exactly that...deep in the wilderness...and lovely! The epitaphs in its church graveyard took me back to the days of the raj...here lies so and so, wife of the viceroy / colonel / passed away at Dhurmsala (sic.).
I though of writing my and Anita's name on one of hte pine trees along the road, but I think I'll leave that for both of us to do together!
The guesthouse owners - esp. the younger brother (Kalsang Tsering) are friendly and their 3 dogs keep barking continuously! Sunrise cafe was a dingy hole, but the owner was rather sweet and the piping hot rice, dal and rajma...filling!
Young Tibetan girls are cute, the guys look smart, the older folks just have many creases on the forehead! One thing, though - I am yet to see a lean tibetan! - they are ALL well built...you can't even call the monks and nuns thin!!
Chorten at temple road - opposite Kailash hotel
26th Feb 2002.....
'Am writing this, sipping tsampa (barley porridge - Dalai lama's favourite dish as per his autobiography!) at the Tara Cafe - on Bhagsu road, a cosy lil' eatery, with 2 Tibetans jabbering away next to me! I always had this desire to live in a foreign land...well this gets real close to it! Being here feels as though I am in Tibet!! The music around is Tibetan, people, language, houses, all tibetan....Except for some of the shopkeepers, and the occasional strains of Amitabh bachchan songs which remind me that I am in India.
I walked down crooked rock strewn paths via shortcuts shown by an elderly tibetan woman , a beggar (?!!) and 3 frolicksome children; to the Library of Tibetan works and archives. it was Lovely!! Nechung monastery near it is beautiful, especially when the wind blows and chimes and bells ring. Plus the lovely snow capped mountain background? Gosh! I came on this journey to see India's beauty, and I am finding it! - at every step!!
The two hour wait to see monks engaged in dialectic debate bore fruit! They were so action and drama packed plus laughing, I stood in the temple courtyard with anopther 15-20 onlookers, watching them debate....though I could'nt understand a word!! A Kind Tibetan professor came by and explained what exactly the monks were doing - the posture they use (of one palm up and the other down pointing to the ground) is what the teachers and students of Nalanda World uiversity used to use in the 10th century! I immediately want to visit Nalanda! Maybe next trip.
Read about the rest of the trip on www.geocities.com/travellingindia