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.

Continue reading this entry » » »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.

Continue reading this entry » » »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Old woman walking

Taking refuge

After the Chinese took full control of Lhasa and Tibet in 1959, many Tibetans — the Dalai Lama included — made their way to Dharamshala as refugees. Today, they and their descendants consider this their adopted home.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Majestic views from Upper Dharamshala

Breathe free

With a soundtrack of chanting monks, a permanent Tibetan refugee population and backdrop of the Himalayas, Upper Dharamshala — known to tourists as McLeod Ganj — is enchanting. This view comes from the Dalai Lama’s monastery, the Namgyal Monastery.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday night = momo time

Oh sweet Jesus

Every Saturday afternoon, the kids gather in the kitchen to crank out momos for dinner. It is a glorious sight, these traditional Tibetan wonders.

The students taught me how to properly fold a momo, to get that crescent shape and the bunched edge. I’m particularly bad at it, and they frequently laughed at the momos I made. More pictures below.

Mmmm....


Continue reading this entry » » »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tibetan eyes

Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre, Darjeeling

We visited the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre in the Darjeeling hills. At the time, it was a rather dour compound. Adults eyed us — seven foreigners pulling up in a van — with reserve. We spent most of our time in the gift shop that sells traditional handicrafts at fixed, good prices.

Outside, these two little ones made up for the quiet with their laughter.

Continue reading this entry » » »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tibetan kitchen is a family affair

Our tour of Darjeeling was snared by a regular road closure that trapped us in a mountain traffic jam. Perfect Indian excuse for a lunch break.

We ventured to a small Tibetan restaurant where we proceeded to devour steamed vegetable momos and aloo parathas and sweet lemon tea. The whole operation was run out of a cramped kitchen (above) where mom and daughters molded momos (also below) and rolled bread.

Outside, the charismatic papa heckled customers (all of us), refused to serve them tea before lunch (me) and hollered ever-growing food orders (ours) through the door. Pops was absolutely delightful, laughed at my Hindi, and enthusiastically explained (still in Hindi) how to make his lemon tea.

Continue reading this entry » » »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Citizen journalism, old-school

Words for a people suppressed

The Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre in Darjeeling proudly displays the old World War II-era hand press that printed the Tibetan Freedom newspaper for 32 years. The newspaper was started on the advice of the Dalai Llama, exiled to India, to spread word of Tibetans, their identity and their struggle against Chinese control.

Continue reading this entry » » »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

These are times of tall men and short character

On a wall at the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center in Darjeeling

On a wall at the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center in Darjeeling

Click the photo for a larger image. I’ve retyped below (with reasonable punctuation) for better reading.

Continue reading this entry » » »

Tags: , , , , , ,