My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.
My letters to my doddamma are about our trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala between 1st and 9th of this month. So I am sharing the same in my Slice of Life post.
Exploring McLeodganj (6-01-2020)
Today morning we went upstairs to the restaurant. It was very cold. We ate a good breakfast and went back to our room. Getting ready we walked along the narrow road. We were going to explore on our own. We had decided what we were going to see.
The Dalai Lama temple complex was our first destination. The temple was on the first floor. We removed our footwear and circumambulated the shrine. Half way around we stepped inside. At the feet of the statue of Buddha there were offering of fruits, flowers and even cake and biscuits. No one was allowed to sit inside. We came out and continued our walk around the shrine. Adjacent to the walls there were drums called chakras with ‘mantras’ to Avalokitheshwara Buddha. We turned these wheels. It is believed that turning them purifies the individual’s karma. More the number of revolutions the person achieves, greater effect.
There were wooden handles beneath the drums but I saw that most people were touching the drums to move them instead of the handles. A monk was walking by lost in his world. I wonder what he thought about all this. Maybe he is used to tourists 😊. We could see the beautiful mountain peaks in the distance. We sat for some time and then walked down. We had read about the Tibetan museum inside the temple complex. Unfortunately, it was closed. Near the museum were three fascinating statues and we asked a boy to take our picture.
We then walked to the centre of the town which people called ‘chowk’. On the way we saw a lady selling hot vegetable momos with spicy chutney. We had a plate. It was very tasty. I have looked up the recipe and hope to make them some day.
We walked along the winding road to the town of Bhagsu, 2 ½ kms away. It started drizzling and we had no umbrella. A man was selling beautiful black figurines made of powdered stone. We bought one of them, a statuette of Lord Ganapati. It was raining continuously when we reached the temple. A small and beautiful shrine. Beyond the temple was a site of a waterfall but no water. I am sure it would look beautiful in full flow.
We took an autorickshaw back To McLeodganj. We asked the driver to take us a church called St John in the Wilderness. It was located in a beautiful place, unfortunately it was shut. We came back to the town centre.
We had read about The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives located in the vicinity of McLeodganj. We hired another auto rickshaw to take us to there. It was three kilometres away. The entrance to the building looked beautiful. On the ground floor we walked into the reading room. The librarian was very helpful and showed us around. She was a Tibetan and told us she had been born and brought up in Bylakuppe near Kushalnagar in our state. Many Tibetans have settled on lands given to them in Karnataka. She was happy to meet us. The museum upstairs was very good. The curator, Mr Namgyal was very enthusiastic and explained to us all the exhibits. We enjoyed listening to him. It was pouring with rain outside. Fortunately, we got a taxi in the campus itself.
We returned to our hotel tired but happy. People readily agreed when I asked them if I could take their photo. They are friendly. At night, we had dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. The food was very good, fresh and tasty.
In spite of the heater it was very cold and it was nice and warm under the woolen blankets. At that moment we felt the heat of our place is much better than the cold 😊.