McLeodGanj – A Place of Stories

It is a congested town, as so many towns in India are. Here however I felt stories. Lots of different stories unfolding… maybe because it is the place for the Tibetan government in exile, maybe because it is one of the few places where revolution/revolt/patriotism has some meaning, maybe because of the Llamas that are abound, maybe because I started wondering where are the Himachali people, maybe because of the awesome Himalayas that looked down upon the place, maybe cause I became a part of some stories myself!

There is a small path around the Dalai Lama residence, it is how a person circum-ambulate around the complex. There was just one Tibetan monk walking along with his prayer wheel, and one European fellow who told me what the path was about… so on I went strolling… the path was through the pines with Tibetan quote boards and prayer wheels on one side…

Tsuglag Khang
Circumambulation around the Tsuglag Khang

Soon I came across a bull and it seemed mad. I tried going past it but it kept nodding its head. The path was so small that it could just throw me off it! Then one other olderly gentleman walked past it and bull bumped him in the butt. But he got through. I totally freaked and started yelling about. The old monk shuffled ahead and actually stood so to push the bull back and give me way to cross. It was all too freaky the bull pushed him aside and started advancing. I managed to cross anyway but I can’t forget the monk who tried to clear the way for me by pushing the bull back. The fello was so old that it was admirable! I am touched. He then tried telling me something but I didn’t understand his language.

So you see …. stories.

I met a Buddhist nun and started chatting with her. She spoke Hindi and was from Ladakh. She took me to the place she stayed in – which was very much like a hut, but she had all amenities. She said it was because they were so close to Dalai Lama that they had all amenities otherwise the monasteries in Ladakh do not have such facilities. She kept ruminating about how she didn’t get any education when she was small, she went off to work in Leh as her parents needed the money. I told her how I helped street kids in Mumbai and her insight on these kids was astute because she herself was like one of them she said. We exchanged numbers and I will meet her when I go back… 🙂


I was casually interacting with a Tibetan. Later I found out that he was a Tibetan refugee and had crossed into India after a harrowing ordeal in 2003. It got me thinking. Now seeing news about self immolations in Tibet worries me greatly.

I am generally a shy kid but even I found myself amidst these stories… I could almost feel them unfolding… maybe it was the Dalai Lama’s presence… maybe it is just how that space is.

  • nice

  • Bloody annoying when something like a bull spoils the experience of such a pretty place. I remember the army of monkeys in Elephanta Caves near Mumbai in the 1980s – all we did was try to avoid the monkeys and never enjoyed anything. Not sure if it has changed now

    • I have been part way to Elephanta (totally miscalculated the time so had to head back before we even reached up!) so there wasn’t any monkeys there but maybe up at the caves they might be…
      Actually this bull was annoying but the monk trying to ‘save my life’ was amazing!
      In this area the dogs are more of a problem. So when I was at Rewalsar earlier the dogs were a total menace… and then I was reading that at Dharamshala there had been some mass dog poisoning campaigns.

  • Chai aCup O fLife

    beautiful photos and great story!! I recently came back from here and wrote about it too!