An Encounter with Dalai Lama at Dharamsala

Ordinarily the meeting with His Holiness The Dalai Lama is very unusual and people only meet him during large gatherings. However, a fortunate incident happened with us when His Holiness was perceived by me and my friends at Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala. Though it was only us who saw him from and distance and not the other way round, yet it was an experience that most people do not get.

Our trip was to Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj in the month of October 2011. The weather was a little chilly and the mornings were dawning to the winter season. We were staying in one of the hotels at Bhagsu. However, being avid travelers and having interest in trekking we decided to spend the first day of our visit by walking till Namgyal Monastery. I have heard that the young Buddhist monks chanted their prayers early in the morning feeling the surrounding air with a flavor of religious sentiment.

Whenever I took on a journey, the most luxurious experience I felt was getting and embracing the local feel.

Residence of Dalai Lama


I wanted to enjoy the chanting environment and convinced my friends on an early October morning walk down the windy streets of McLeod Ganj. Though the trip was exhausting especially McLeod Ganj has very steep roads compared to any other hill stations in India, we were excited to stand in front of Dalai Lama’s residence. Fortunately enough the Dalai Lama was engaged in teaching his disciples inside the monastery. A lot of Tibetans had gathered in the courtyard in front of the Holiness’ residence since the teachings were telecasted over television kept there.

We were excited but a little disappointed since we could not understand the dialects that the Dalai Lama uttered. The teachings were done in Tibetan only. Furthermore, we were also upset that even though His Holiness is inside the monastery we had to look at him through a television. The experience was ordinary since I had seen His Holiness on television a number of times. The place where he was teaching was only limited to people with tickets that were distributed by the Monastery. The tickets were not meant for ordinary tourists. The teachings were about to end and a monk was distributing thread bracelets to the viewers.

Dalai Lama Teaching


Just when I was thinking that the bracelet was our prize this morning when we all saw His Holiness coming down the stairs to board his private car. A look at his face was enough to make the day since the Dalai Lama was almost the sculpted version of peace. A faint smile was on his face and his skin was glowing in the morning sun. The Buddhist robe was a real addition to the figurine and I felt that nothing could be better than watching him in his own residence. His Holiness was driven out of the place to his residence for lunch. I derived the option of lunch for His Holiness since the time was about noon. I tried to imagine what constitutes of the lunch for His Holiness when my friend shook me out of dreams. We went back to our hotel on a public transport.

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