Friday, June 09, 2006
Cooler Daze in India
We have made it to McLeod Ganj, a Tibetan village just north of Dharamsala. The weather is cooler, the streets are safer and the flavor and tone of the region is very laid back and relaxing. There are more westerners here than in the other places we’ve visited.
In the past few days, we’ve taken quite a few trail walks in these hills, most notably to the Tibetan Children’s Village and to this massive waterfall. The source of the waterfall is the snow runoff from the Himalayan mountains a few hundred miles away. After climbing to the waterfall site, a few of us took the plunge and, for the first time in a month, got to swim.
Independent projects are underway these days. Ashley and Dani have met with a woman who conducts research on Tibetan nuns; JT has met a film director at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts; Nabeel has approached a doctor of Tibetan medicine and has a few capsules that he hopes to bring back home to analyze under a microscope and spectrometer; Bob has met with a Tibetan metal smith and continues with Aleta to craft collages of scraps and bits of Indian street life; James and Geoff will soon spend a few days in solitude on a meditation retreat.
It is interesting to be in McCleod Ganj. This is the home of the Dalai Lama, and many, many Tibetans who have fled China (which claims to view Tibet as part of China). The precariousness of the terrain seems to inform, or illustrate in some way, the careful balance required of surviving on the edge of a precipice. There is an unsettled feeling here in spite of the cozy, homey spaces the Tibetans have managed to carve out for themselves. They are refugees, but have managed to create institutions and organizations that will ensure that their culture and traditions will continue.
This is the final blog… as far as I can tell. I leave tomorrow morning for Delhi, and then I’m off back home to the United States. I may post a line or two of reflection when I get a chance.
The rest of the group will remain in Dharamsala for a few more days before they, too, leave India for the places they call home.
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