On March 6 we had the immense fortune to be granted a private audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his residence in Mcleodganj (Dharamsala), India. This was a life’s dream come true for my wife. It was a wonderful experience to meet His Holiness in person. He exudes a tremendous calming force and energy. Meeting him at first makes one speechless. We could not have dreamed for anything better after having had the chance to travel extensively in Tibet last year. In all we spent about 3 days in Mcleodganj, including attending a session of public teaching on the Jakata Tales (Life Stories of the Buddha) by His Holiness on the morning of 8 March. We also witnessed him leading the prayers in the temple on 6 March in the afternoon.
We took the opportunity to visit the Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala. Norbulingka is dedicated to handing down tradition and restoring standards by providing training, education and employment for Tibetans. We were able to witness first hand the painstakingly slow and detailed craftmanship that is required to complete beautiful thangka paintings, woodwork and bronze statues.
Mcleodganj’s history goes back to the British raj in the mid-19th century. Ever since the arrival of His Holiness the Dalai Lama when the Indian Government offered the location for his residence in exile the town has mushroomed as a pilgrimage area, the seat of the Tibetan Government in Exile and a destination for Tibetan refugees. The town has a distinct relaxed “backpackers” feel to it. The surroundings are lush in vegetation, the hill climate is soothing and the backdrop of the Himalayas is breathtakingly beautiful.
The center of focus and activity is the Tsuglagkhang temple and residence complex of his Holiness the Dalai Lama. This is the point where daily all visitors converge. Be them tourists, pilgrims or refugees. The town is also filled with Buddhist monks and nuns, Tibetan and foreign.
Last Updated: 25-03-2012
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