Dalai Lama country
Trip Start Nov 02, 2011
197Trip End Ongoing
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I head out to the town which is small and easy to find your way around.After a walk round I seek out the Mountaineering Commissioner’s office to ask about crossing the Rohtang La when I get up to Manali, he provides me with details of his counterpart in Manali
I enjoy just finding my way around and I’m intrigued to know where the Dalai Lama’s residence is so I seek it out, I have a quick wander in and I’m surprised to find out that he is in residence at the minute. I speak to one of his security about requesting to meet him and he tells me to submit a request online and to come back in the morning, I thank him and head back into the town. I have dinner in a popular spot and end up meeting another few tourists some of which are in the same guest house, and it turns into a fun night. Next day though I head back to the temple but I’m told there’s normally a month waiting list to meet the Dalai Lama and unfortunately it’s just not possible, oh well I’m a bit disappointed although did I really think I was going to meet him… well probably not
There’s a lovely walk round the temple complex which I lap a couple of times, the place is full of scripted stones to ‘Free Tibet’ or ‘Long live the Dalai Lama’ which seem to be the main theme, there’s prayer wheels and temples and I walk half the way with an older monk (‘lama’) who is lovely and chants continuously. The place is full of prayer flags and I’m some parts the whole area is covered, other lama approaches me and invite me into a smaller temple, he sits me down and offers me tea and explains some of their rituals etc. he doesn’t seem to want me to leave so I make my excuses!
On my way back round I decided to go back into the residence area and visit the temple inside which I’ve not been to yet. I walk up the stairs and look round, some of the prayer wheels here are very big and they have information for tourists written on how to go round them, I spin them as instructed then go over to a room which is filled with candles, there are hundreds of them lit. It is very peaceful here, you could stay all day… anyway I go to head down the stairs and there’s a lama holding on with one hand and stick in the other, so I ask him if he needs a hand… he’s ok just taking his time, we exchange greetings and have a few words after which he touches my arm in way of a blessing and I turn to continue downstairs
A friend I recently made in Kathmandu Steve, on leaving Kathmandu was coming here to have an audience with the Dalai Lama so I emailed Steve the photograph I’d taken and he confirmed it most definitely was him and that I’d been blessed. It was a very special moment and one that I will always remember, ‘Long live the Dalai Lama’.