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Dharamsala, India

Mcleod Ganj

all seasons in one day 24 °C

Dharamsala_Tibet.jpg

Our next stop was McLeod Ganj near Dharamsala,the headquarters of the Tibetan government in ‎exile and the official residence of the Dalai Lama. Home to a large Tibetan community, there is plenty ‎to do here such as trekking, cookery courses, volunteering and learning about the plight of Tibet and ‎its refugees. ‎

dharamsala.jpg

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that before coming here, my knowledge about Tibet was limited. ‎Nestled in the magical heights of of the Himalayan 'snow country', Tibet has an incredibly rich heritage ‎and culture centring on a deep Buddhist philosophy. Since China 'liberated' Tibet in 1959, one can only ‎describe China's actions as tantamount to cultural and religious genocide. Not only have countless ‎Tibetans been tortured and killed, China's primary goal seems to have been to totally erase every ‎element of Tibetan culture. I won't bang on about it now but if anyone is interested in learning more, ‎visit the official Tibetan government in exile's website at: www.tibet.net There are also many ‎organisations out there dedicated to helping the people of Tibet, including the Tibet Earthquake Relief ‎Fund www.yushuearthquakerelief.org or www.tibetanvillageproject.org/yer.html (reported as the ‎Chinese earthquake in the media but in former Tibet). ‎

In light of the above, Dharamsala offers a very different cultural experience to the rest of India and it ‎has been both fascinating and emotional to learn about the plight of the Tibetans. ‎

Tibetan_lady.jpg

Where we stayed:
Akash Guesthouse - run by Fyaz and his German wife, it's a great place. Friendly ‎staff and a balcony overlooking the Himalayan foothills - what more can you ask for for 800 ‎rupees/night

Where to eat:
Eat while learning at Nisha's Cooking School - six hours over two days, and you get to eat ‎it all for dinner! There are also several good Tibetan cooking schools and plenty of good Indian and ‎Tibetan restaurants

Things to do in Dharamsala:

  • Walk to nearby Bagsu and Daramkot or join an organised trek
  • Immerse ‎yourself in Tibetan culture and help a good cause by volunteering,
  • Listen to Tibetan refugees and ex ‎political prisoners tell their stories and watch documentaries at one of the many *evening organised by ‎Tibetan groups (we payed 100rs and were given more delicious savoury and chocolate momos than we ‎could eat).
  • Attend Buddhist philososphy, meditation or yoga classes, visit the temple and Tibetan ‎museum ‎

Posted by Jules79 03:21 Archived in India Tagged backpacking

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