Wednesday, May 03, 2006

 



I recently had an awesome invitation to be introduced to His Holiness The Dalai Lama at his home in McLeod Ganj in India. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to travel to meet The Living Buddha and an icon amongst icons.

McLeod Ganj is the part of Dharmasala, India where the Tibetans in exile have set up their home. Sometimes it is referred to as Dhasa which is a combination of Lhasa, Tibet and Dharmasala. It is situated in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, and the views from here are majestic with the Kangra Valley lying down below and the snow-capped Dhauladher mountain range behind one. The mountains, clouds and eagles dominate the scenery. McLeod Ganj is mostly populated by Tibetans, while further down the hill in lower Dharmasala, you will find the majority of the Indian shops and peoples. One does see a lot of Indian beggars at the times when His Holiness is giving his talks for many Buddhist practioners arrive from all over the world, and the beggars take advantage of this opportunity.

McLeod Ganj is a busy place with taxis rushing through the tiny lanes, cows in the streets, people of all kinds and nationalities everwhere you look...your typical Indian street scene except for all the monks and lamas that you wouldn't find elsewhere. It is a beautiful area for there are pine, Himalayan oak, rhododendron and deodar forests surrounding the area. There are also a jillion little shops selling everything incredibly cheap, great little restaurants with the best mango lassis and Tibetan food, and lots and lots of temples and monasteries in the surrounding hills. Tibetan refugees from all over the world flock here to receive blessings and Teachings from His Holiness and other great lamas. The photo above of four beautiful Tibetan women who traveled here from Tibet to listen to the Teachings gives you a sense of the joy they feel about being in such a sacred place. I believe my photo conveys my joy as well as evidenced by my friends who have shared with me how radiant I appear. I am a simple pilgrim like these four sweet ladies who was fortunate enough to have the connections, the friends, the time, the drive, the money and the ability to travel to this out-of-the-way location to meet one of the great men of our age. I will share more of my adventures in my next blog.
Comments:
I enjoyed reading the blog, and can only hope you have more travels I feel you can be an excellent travel blogger...travelblogger.com? A place to get the real scoop on holy places with holy faces or jst some good fun? Bali Spa anyone?
 
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