McLeod Ganj – Home of the Dalai Lama
We took an overnight bus to Dharamsala, high in the Himalayas. Our hotel was situated between the tiny hippie village of Dharamkot and the Dalai Lama’s home of exile, McLeod Ganj. As a matter of fact, we lost count of the number of nights we stayed in Dharamsala, but it was longer than intended – somewhere between two and three weeks. We took time to chill out and soak up the mountain air. In all honesty, sickness and intense travelling in Rajasthan had taken its toll and, above all, we felt the need to take things easy for a while.
The weather was bright most of the time and we consequently took plenty of walks on the steep dirt tracks. We discovered waterfalls and prayer-flag festooned shrines on hilltops. Additionally, we went to The Dalai Lama Temple, where we watched debating monks and we also visited the poignant Tibetan Museum. The restaurants served delicious foods, both Tibetan and Western. Gradually our health was restored.
A Tibetan Enclave
Walking the streets of McLeod Ganj felt more akin to being in Lhasa than India. Prayer flags fluttered everywhere and ‘Free Tibet’ was emblazoned across garage doors and on motorbikes. Monks hung out in cafes. Buddhist bookshops and stores selling Buddhist paraphernalia were numerous. Furthermore, T was convinced she caught sight of the Dalai Lama himself scurrying down the road one day!
Our Haven in the Himalayas
We asked to switch rooms at our hotel Greenwoods, and for most of our stay we had mountain views and a balcony. As a matter of fact, the guys at the hotel were really sweet and couldn’t do enough for us. The internet was terrible and we couldn’t get much work done, which we found quite frustrating. Frequent power cuts didn’t help. However, we loved out room with a view of the Himalayas and soaring eagles. Indeed, we think the staff wondered if we were ever going to leave, but eventually we did……