Likes lemon curd cake, Russia, and Sunlight.
Tenzin, 19. Tibetan. Works as a waiter. Likes whiskey. Lives in McleodGanj.
When I was in school everyone called me Genji because of my haircut. You know that film?
Yes. You watch it? Everybody thought I looked like him so now sometimes I say that’s my name.
Photographed in Mcleodganj, Dharamsala in November 2013.
One of the things that struck me the most, when I stayed in Dharamsala, was the abundance of color all around that somehow seemed to be in perfect harmony with the projected minimalism of life.
In reality, the color of a monk’s robe is not just plain red but varies in many shades of red, ranging from maroon to crimson to deep wine.
The color “red” had become the traditional monk robe color in Tibet mainly because it was the most common and cheapest dye at one point of time. Also, red is considered a ”poor” color in Tibet so the idea of wearing red symbolizes deflecting attention from oneself and focusing on compassion & kindness towards other beings – one of the main principles of Buddhism.The Buddhist robe is said to be more colorful than other sects. Interestingly it is also one of the oldest styles of fashion that is still in existence despite 2500 years having passed by since this type of attire came to be.
The simplicity of wearing such robes also symbolizes the vow taken to lead simple lives. A monk’s robe is like his uniform in a way – a symbol of his non-status that he no longer partakes in a material world. It is interesting to see that a symbol of such self imposed insignificance has become so significant with time.
They talk about global warming, space shuttles, and Bollywood. Many have nothing and want nothing except their homeland back. Most of them renounced everything they had to embrace the simplicity of a life dedicated to a religion that preaches selflessness. Everyone else including local Indians & many travelers around them complete their large circle of family, love, friendship, and support.
The controversial 17th Karamapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most revered leaders and a probable successor to the Dalai Lama.
Conversation classes are hugely popular in Mcleod Ganj. A typical description of a conversation class is English-speaking travelers converse with monks/tibetans in English in order to improve their spoken English. These conversation classes are held every day for an hour or two, 5 days a week. Teaching and learning at these classes work both ways. Volunteering travelers talk about their city life & day-to-day experiences, and learn about the tibetan way of life, their struggles, their dangerous journey over the Himalayas, the sacrifices they made, and their rehabilitation in a foreign land.
Poster for a *Conversation Class* held at one of the NGOs I was volunteering at.
The monastic life feels like a big alternative spiritual get-together.
These photos were taken during the months of August, September, October in Mcleodganj, Dharamsala. It was considerably cold throughout. People looked happy when the sun shone, rain always brought with it a bit of gloominess, and life got colder with the dark winter fog. Just a state of mind? I can’t be sure.
Meanwhile, the cost of these umbrellas remained unaffected, ranging from 60Rs. to 250Rs.
The commonest of all scarves. If you don’t have it, you are not a traveller. These scarves sell for about 150 Rupees on Temple Road. And last time I checked; one can find them in Sarojini Nagar Market for about half the price.
Most of these photos were taken during the Dalai Lama teachings. The teachings are about Buddhism, ethics, and interfaith harmony, and they happen almost every month for about 3 to 4 days. In the beginning, I didn’t think much of the teachings. I felt they were not for me. But during my last month I decided to attend one just for the experience. The Dalai Lama said the most simple things…most obvious things..but things that we have forgotten or we overlook as we stay busy in this fast changing world, and I was glad I attended.
My first post. Photos are from Mcleodganj, Dharamsala. I came here to do something else but ended up doing something else. Which, I think, is true for many others too.