McLeod Gunj

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

One of the 1st things that strikes you when you reach McLeod Gunj is what a melting pot it is- of cultures, of races, of attitudes. Here clearly the extraordinary exists with & even actively mingles with the ordinary. Home away from home to the Tibetan Buddhists in exile, the Mcleod Gunj streets are busy with monks in their maroon robes, tourists, sellers, the curious, the seeker, the learned and the refugee. And after the quietness of Dalhousie ( thankfully this is off-season) this place is abuzz with posters and announcers informing the onlooker of the next Dalai Lama visit, the next trek, the next meditation or Reiki or Yoga course. And as an antidote to this activity all you need to do is walk down any of the roads from the main square – and you will reach either the Tsuglagkhang Complex or an ancient Hindu Bhagsu Nag temple or the St John church- each an oasis of calm. And how coincidental (or not) that they should belong to different religions.
Announcers, leaflets & posters are the order of the day- literally.

On arrival I was really looking forward to seeing my 1st Gompa but didn’t know I will see it this soon. On our way to the main Buddhist Temple (Tsuglagkhang) Complex, crammed between many little hotels and shops selling local memorabilia stood a Tibetan stupa or Chorten with the characterictic prayer wheels. A quick look :

Im sorry about the picture quality, but this is the only one I had that showed it in context.

Detailed and typical Tibetal designs adorn the temple.

A local offering her prayers.

Details on the pillars

A monk polishing a lamp.

The Fantastically coloured Prayer wheels. They contain written inscriptions of sacred buddhist mantras or chants. There are handles below the circular wheels with which you can spin them. Spinning the wheel is a form of prayer.

Next in line is the main Temple complex or the Tsuglagkhang Complex which is very different in mood and architecture from this one.

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