A beautiful but decrepit old church

Almost forgotten

From the entrance to St. John in the Wilderness, an old Anglican church that has fallen on hard times. After the British left in India, the congregation dwindled with the Christian population of Dharamshala.

The church today is dingy and in need of repair, but not without its charm: beautiful stained glass, picturesque forest setting and a dedicated pastor-cum-caretaker. On the grounds of the church, Lord Elgin, one of the viceroys of India, is buried with little ceremony.

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Newly opened?

Something is amiss

From an ongoing construction project across from the “new” bus stand in Dharamshala. Someone got excited about printing a sign, but the promised bowling lanes are no where to be found.

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Artists in exiled residence

Hand woven

Dharamshala, as the political and religious center-in-exile for Tibet, draws refugees from all walks. NGOs and the like have accordingly sprung up hoping to provide transplants with opportunities in their new home.

Here’s a Tibetan carpet workshop on the main square. Fantastic crafts(wo)manship and absolute beauty.

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Prayer wheel redux

Many wheels to go

The trip to Dharamshala two months ago certainly was photogenic. And I do like photos of faith and the faithful: people practicing their rituals, at that moment when, for many, meaning and the divine are most accessible.

And prayer wheels make for good color and meditation.

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Monk’s mood: Candelight march

Protest

Monks and others march ’round the main square of Dharamshala in memory of a young monk in Tibet who a day earlier had set himself on fire in protest of Chinese rule over his country. As the primary community for Tibetans in exile from Chinese rule, Dharamshala is something of free expression zone for all manner of protest and sociopolitical thought, like the monk’s vigil.

They do here what they would be shot for doing in Tibet.

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Pilgrims and flags

Pilgrims

A family on a pilgrimage walk around the Namgyal monastery at Dharamshala. This venture through the woods is one of the most peaceful “trails” I’ve encountered in a long time.

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Dharamshala mountain way

Solitary

Monk out for a walk on a sunny day.

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Om mani padme hum

Turning the wheels

More than a hundred prayer wheels around the Namgyal Monastery in Dharamshala.

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Artificial scents in your laundry detergent? Bah!

Tide Mountain Spring and Oxy-Clean Mountain Fresh and sundry other suds ain’t got nothing on the smell of clothes dried properly in fresh Himalayan air.

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Himalayan Botany 101

Strange and beautiful

Where’s my botanist? Mountain flowers from Dharamshala.

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