Bumping into the Dalai Lama

McLeod Ganj Travel Blog

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The main square - McLeod Ganj

This was one of those great unplanned moments of our year travelling: we managed to turn up in McLeod Ganj, home of the Dalai Lama, in exactly the week when he was giving a series of talks, which meant that we were able to go along and see him speak.

The bus trip to McLeod Ganj was along some fantastic winding roads from Dalhousie. The bus actually went to Dharamsala, at the bottom of the hill, and we got a taxi up the steep streets to McLeod Ganj at the top - quite a fun ride all in all.

We spent our time in McLeod Ganj doing very little; chatting to other travellers and eating and drinking, plus wandering the town looking in all the traveller shops.

Beautiful views
It's a very laid back place, but very much a traveller hang-out, so has lots of little cafes and restaurants etc, so it's very relaxing. We ended up staying more days than we'd planned because we were enjoying doing nothing and feeling unhassled.

The highlight of our time there was attending one of the Dalai Lama's talks. For this we needed a small radio, so that we could tune into the English translation of his words, which was broadcast from the temple. We managed to aquire one very cheaply. The other thing we needed was some sort of registration document, which we kept trying to get from the office to which we'd been directed, but it was always closed, or staffed by the rudest man ever. In the end I think we must have managed to get in without one, although I can't remember. It took us about three days to actually get into the temple, so it's lucky that the talks were going on for a week.

We sat outside the temple, as the places inside were allocated by ticket, which we didn't have. We got the see the Dalai Lama arrive and leave, but couldn't see him during the speech. The subject of the talk was alternative interpretations of a Buddhist text, which was mostly way over my head, but it was still an enjoyable experience.

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The main square - McLeod Ganj
The main square - McLeod Ganj
Beautiful views
Beautiful views
Prayer wheels
Prayer wheels
A monk and a saddhu
A monk and a saddhu
Sunset from the terrace at our hot…
Sunset from the terrace at our ho…
Monks at the Internet cafe!
Monks at the Internet cafe!
Me on the Kangra Valley narrow-gau…
Me on the Kangra Valley narrow-ga…
The toy train
The "toy train"
McLeod Ganj Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Located just off the main square in the centre of McLeod Ganj, this little restaurant serves excellent Indian food, and the owner is extremely friendl… read entire review
McLeod Ganj
photo by: Stevie_Wes