Monday, October 25, 2010

20101015 India - McLeod Ganj

After 5.5hr spinning on the mountainous roads, was so glad to reach McLeod Ganj, which means I could get hot meals now.

The 1st impression was that McLeod Ganj has all the elements to be the hub of backpackers - religious background, cheap accommodations, good foods, souvenirs, narrow alleys, many foreign faces and languages. This is the typical den for those tourists overwhelmed with sympathy and hippies. Tibetans seem to outnumber Indians in this town.

Under the iron wrist and attacks of China government in 1950's, the renowned Tibetan political cum spiritual leader 14th Dalai Lama opted to flee Tibet to seek refuge from India in 1959. This further triggered exodus of Tibetans following his step. The Indian government granted the exiled Tibetan government to be established here, very small scale, smaller then my expectation. The major authorities were available - parliament, court, ministry of education, culture etc. The little museum (a room) inside the Library displayed those precious artifacts brought from Tibet. The main financial support is mainly comprised of public donations.

Another small Tibet Museum in town narrated the histories by displaying a few photos and videos, mainly about the invasion of China government to Tibet. No gory photos displayed about the massacre.

I met a Mongolian lady twice who was studying Tibetan language here. She kept asking about my dreams and gave analysis (prediction) on it. Frankly it was hard to believe. Since she was so serious and keen to explain, I paid attention on it. At last she said her service was not for free, I should pay some amount if I "would seek" her advice next time. Ha... the dream analyst was a commercial person too.

I attended a Buddhist philosophy lecture given by a senior monk. The lesson was somehow too difficult for a beginner like me.

There are several organizations and NGOs here to help the needy (especially those newly arrived) to adapt their new life by giving free foreign language courses, physical assistances etc. I participated in the English conversation class after lunch to try improving their communication capability. Meanwhile I could make some friends and to understand their background and dilemma. It was interesting, I hope my little effort would help.

I had been thinking of picking up meditation course here... till now I didn't realize any due to several excuses.

Most of the monks here had no income, largely depends on the meager remittance from their family or friends to support their daily expenses. I was invited by 2 monks to their accommodations, very very basic living. They even prepared simple foods for me, was deeply touched by their hospitality.

The tough escaping journey stories depressing me again and again. They trekked over the snow clad high mountains for nearly a month, suffering freezing cold, frostbites, hunger, tiredness, avoiding the patrol police (they normally walked only in the night time), taking care of kids, paying huge sum to the traffickers, many people failed and died on the way...

This is the place I felt the most comfortable during this trip... I LOVE it.