India has more than its fair share of Tibetan culture thriving in various parts of the country.
March 10 saw Tibetans marking the 50th anniversary of their uprising against China taking over their country. India has been a crucial part of the Tibetan refugee experience ever since the Dalai Lama came here to begin his long exile in 1959. It’s one of the few places where Tibetan culture is able to flourish.
Mcleodganj in Himachal Pradesh is where the Dalai Lama now lives, and it remains a hub for everything related to Tibetan culture. A quaint little place, Mcleodganj has emerged as one of the most popular destination for tourists from all over the world who are interested in exploring and learning about Tibet.
The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in the town is extremely famous and offers everything one needs to know about Tibet. It has an extensive collection of literature on Tibet and also houses old Tibetan manuscripts.
Then there is the famous temple Tsug-la-Khang, which is true to the Dalai Lama’s principles of not disturbing the natural vegetation. The architecture of the place is impressive, as it has been largely influenced by Tibetan style and craft. It’s a place where you will find people from all over, there in search of “mental peace and to discover their inner self”.
Darjeeling, in the eastern part of the country, is another major centre of Tibetan culture. There are several large gompas, including the Bhutia Busty Gompa, which houses the original copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Of course, there are several other factors which attract people to Darjeeling, but you can find a lot of Tibetan culture there as well.
Ladakh has now become synonymous with adventure tourism and is a hot spot for most bikers. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the place is still called Little Tibet.
The food, architecture, music in Ladakh has a lot of Tibetan flavour in it. One can find a lot of monasteries, gompas in the area, which offer a glimpse into the culture of Tibet. The perfect time to visit Ladakh if you want to experience their culture is September when the Ladakh festival is held.
And of course, there is Majnu ka Tila in New Delhi, one of the biggest Tibetan settlements in India. It’s the ideal place to sample Tibetan cuisine and crafts, and it also offers a few popular student hangouts.