After registering ourselves to see the Dalai Lama teachings the following way despite a nagging hangover, we spent our first afternoon in McLeod Ganj recovering in bed as well as walking around the town. McLeod is right up in the mountains and the clouds tend to set in early in the afternoon and not leave until early the next morning, which was fine with us.
Feeling a lot better the next morning, we rose early to get down to the Tsuglagkhang complex, which includes the Dalai Lama’s official residence, a temple, courtyard and other accommodations for the practicing monks. We saw His Holiness come out from his residence just before the teachings and greet a few people on the way to his teaching podium in his temple. It was really lovely to see the enthusiasm of so many old Tibetan people, as well as devotees from around the world.
HH teaches in Tibetan, so we had to listen to the translation through a little radio, which didn’t work the best so we missed a bit of the teachings, however the whole atmosphere more than made up for it. Everyone brings donations of milk, which they use to make salted ghee tea which is, quite honestly, one of the worst things I have ever tasted. We had an old, nearly blind and no doubt nearly deaf Tibetan man sit next to us and INSIST that we take his dense bread biscuit type thing and wash it down with his cup of ghee tea. I made Liam drink it… he didn’t feel so well afterwards. All in all it was a fantastic experience and I’m glad we made the effort of getting there when we did.
We spent the rest of our time in Mcleod Ganj wandering the streets, eating amazing Tibetan food, taking walks up to one of the nearby waterfalls, watching grown Indian men posing (and I mean serious posing) in front of said waterfall. We also took a walk around the Tsuglagkhang complex, seeing monks and old Tibetan men on their daily walk, spinning the prayer wheels and chanting their prayers with prayer beads in hand.