Saturday, July 26, 2008

McLeod Ganj - A Piece of Tibet

The main street and the gompa (temple)

Ever since he fled Tibet back 1959, the Dalai Lama has called McLeod Ganj his place of residence (it is never referred to as his ‘home’). From here the government in exile campaigns for true autonomy – a struggle that seems to be increasingly and tragically futile. Although there is support coming from various world powers, the stubbornness and greed shown by the Chinese government prevents any fair resolution from being reached.

McLeod Ganj

Along with the tragic history of Tibet, the Tibet Museum has some amazing photos of the Dalai Lama riding a donkey through the Himalayas on his way to India; eventually a quarter of a million Tibetans would make a similar journey to escape persecution in their own country. It is a highly risky journey – twenty-two days of hiking over the highest mountain passes in the world, suffering frostbite (most of the refugees do), and reaching India or Nepal does not guarantee that they wont be sent back to Lhasa and severe, inhuman punishment.

Typical weather in McLeod Ganj

Rain became a big part of our lives in McLeod Ganj

Many of them came to McLeod Ganj, and there is a strong Tibetan culture here. Every shop and hotel display ‘Free Tibet’ posters and Tibetan flags (which the Chinese government has banned in ‘Tibet China’, as they call it officially. They have also ‘banned’ the Dalai Lama from being reincarnated in Tibet). There are Buddhist prayer flags flying from most of the buildings and Tibetan stallholders selling jewellery and Tibetan food.

Tibetan flag and prayer flags

Badminton time

The Tibetan refugees seem to be doing well here, but it is sad to think that they’d probably rather be at home in a free Tibet, without fear of persecution.

Prayer wheels in the Gompa

Monks protest for a free Tibet. If they did this in Tibet, they'd be in prison for years.

1 comment:

99% Bachelor said...

Nice pictures taken..
We are also coming to macloedganj..

Hope we will meet there.. lolz..