I first heard about ‘Free Tibet’ few years ago, I was still in college that time. Ever since, this movement and everything about Tibet has intrigued me. Let me share a little background here.
In 1950, China invaded Tibet resulting in countless Tibetans deaths, followed by imprisonment and torture of several Tibetans.
On March 31, 1959, Tibet’s political and spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, reached India after a 15-day journey on foot from the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, over the Himalayas.
HH Dalai Lama was followed by about one hundred thousand Tibetans seeking refuge in India. The Indian government extended full support & immediately set up refugee camps for Tibetans at Misamari in Assam and Buxa Duar in Bengal.
Later, these Tibetan settlements were extended to parts of Himachal Pradesh including Dharamshala, McLeodganj, Dalhousie and Manali. Refuge in India gave Tibetans an opportunity to preserve their religion, culture and identity.
HH Dalai Lama has expressed his profound experience of over 50 years of exile in India in his autobiography – Freedom in Exile. He considers India his spiritual home.
Intrigued by the legendary history of McLeodganj & spellbinding beauty of Himachal Pradesh, we (me and my soulmate) planned a trip to this town.
Visit to Dalai Lama’s Abode in India
We began our odyssey right from New Delhi in a HPTDC Volvo (ticket cost INR 1100 per person), to Dharamshala; it’s an overnight journey consuming ~12-13 hrs. The bus reached at the destination early morning. Right at the bus stop there are taxis / cabs available that charge INR 200 for providing drop till McLeodganj.
McLeodganj is also popularly known as the Little Lhasa in India, it’s the residence of HH Dalai Lama & majority of Tibetans.
Situated in the lap of Dhauladhar Range (a branch of the southern outer Himalayas), McLeodganj is a village in the suburbs of Dharamshala, in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. The legend says that village is named after its founder, Lord David McLeod, the English lieutenant governor of Punjab. McLeodganj’s population is a combination of local Indians, Nepalese, exile Tibetans and foreign expats.