Thursday, June 12, 2014

McLeod Ganj

This beautiful town is probably most famous for being the residence of the Dalai Lama, and we have loved seeing the beautiful maroon and orange robes of monks and nuns roaming the streets. We've seen a lot more tourists here and we can see why. Not only is it beautiful, but the vibe here is much more chill than in larger Indian cities and there are lots of things to do.

Another view - you can see our pink hotel across the way

So far, we have climbed to a waterfall and played in Himalaya water, visited a Buddhist monastery and a temple, taken a tour of the Tibetan Children's Village, and I've taken a yoga class. Tomorrow is a big Buddhist holiday because it marks the anniversaries of Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and nirvana, so we'll be visiting the smaller monastery again to see what's going down. I'm also going to take an Indian cooking class, and maybe a Tibetan one too. So much to do here, and all within walking distance. It's wonderful.

Visiting the monastery was so interesting. We followed a steep side road down a hill until we came to some stairs. 301 stairs later (Kyle counted), we reached the monastery. Unsure of the protocol, we slowly made our way into their main building. I felt a sort of reverence and wanted to be respectful, but I also realized something that might seem obvious to others - the monk boys are still boys!

Apparently it was a special cleaning day (because of the holiday Friday), so we saw boys finish with drum practice and then haul around a ladder so that widows could be cleaned. Half the time they seemed to carry it just for fun, because they would always bring it back to the same spot afterwards. Another boy came in rolling a small wheel-shaped magnet attached to a string, fixing it each time it fell over. It was just so fun to see them play.
Cleaning day at the monastery

We also met an older monk when everyone came out for lunch, and we got to talk with him for a while. He's the one who told us about Friday, and he answered some other questions we had. His name was Nyima, meaning "sun" in Tibetan. We've met some other Tibetans since and we love how their names all seem to have meaning.

A few-mile walk to the Tibetan Children's Village along a tree-covered road was well worth it. The organization houses and teaches Tibetan children who are orphaned or are from destitute families within India. It was a nice campus, and the children were cute. While there, we met a Tibetan woman and her children who actually live in Austria.

After, she invited us to tea (even though we didn't drink any) and we got to talk for a good hour or two. She had attended TCV as a child, then got married to an Austrian who had been doing service there as a young man. They moved to Austria and she brought her children to attend the school to learn about Tibetan culture. But they were not having it and were in the process of returning home. It was lovely spending time talking with them and exchanging stories. Her 13 year-old daughter was full of fun facts about disgusting foods and world news. Of course, they all speak at least three languages - German, Tibetan, and English. People like this make me want to learn another language!

I'm so glad we have a few more days here!

Inside the monastery
Beautiful monastery doors
Buddhist writings
The water is so clear beneath the waterfall!
On our walk to the waterfall, we watched these two monk boys and thought it was cute how the smaller one kept his hand on the other


  1. Wow that picture of the water beneath the waterfall is just beautiful! Also, all those classes sound so fun! I'm glad you have so much to do to enjoy yourselves!! Keep up all the posts because I'm loving it!

  2. I'm hooked on your posts! An increible adventure!