Whether it was Kushinagar (a pilgrimage town near Gorakhpur,Uttar Pradesh) or Mc leodganj( also known as mini Lhasa, Himachal Pradesh) or reading ‘buddha charit’ in school, Buddhism has always attracted me, because of its philosophy and temples/shrines, because of the monks and nuns.
It is not that i don’t approve of my religion (Hinduism/Sanatan Dharma), But being brought up in a very tolerant and open-minded environment (both home and school), i have been taught to be accepting of different cultures and taking the best out of them,i have been trained since early childhood the importance of acculturation and tolerance (maybe because we are migrants).
Buddhism for me is making empathy a basic practice, channeling the force of mind i.e. meditation, practicing love and compassion, patience and the concept of death, nirvana.
Well since this is meant to be a travel blog i would not go into the theories of Buddhism in detail, would jump to the Mc Leod Ganj directly.
Mc Leod ganj according to me is not just a place ,it is an experience,
it is a suburb of Dharamshala ,situated in the Kangra district and is situated on the Dhaulandar (mountain)range of himachal pradesh.
It is called mini Lhasa ,because of its high density of Tibetan population,the tibetan govt in exile has its headquarters at Mc leod.
one of the major attractions isthe Dalai lama Temple.Also known as thekchen choling temple.Dalai Lama visits this temple about 3 to 4 times in a year,therefore its name.
If you want to visit mc leod ganj ,during around his visits you can check his schedule of teachings on the following site link.
I unfortunately could not visit during his visits.
the temple is open from 8 am to 8 pm.
once one enters the temple, one enters a different world altogether
i remembered a song when i entered the premises, of a hindi girl band
‘jahan ho pyaar ka mausam,jahan sab dilon ka ho sangam,jahan miithi ho sab logon ki zubaan,
mujhe aise nagar hai jana, mai aisa nagar dhund lungi kahin na kahin.’
you can always see a number of maroon or yellow-clad monks with allot of peace and contentment on their faces, such sweet mesmerizing smiles they carry, always address you with folded hands ,i was totally impressed.
we saw them chanting one day and debating the other.
inside the main temple their stands a magnificent statue of Buddha,
pilgrims, and tourists from all around the globe flock the corridors of the temple, rotating the temple wheels and chanting ‘om mani padme hum’.
during the 7 days of my stay at Mc leod i visited the temple 4 times,everytime it was a different experience,whether it was meeting the old tibetan granny or greeting the very sweet japanese baby along with his handsome father,or playing with two naughty tibetam girls ,everyday at the temple or mc leod is different .
Therefore i say Mcleod ganj is not a place it is an experience a culture in its own.