Tibet is cool. Priyanka Gandhi is said to be interested in Tibetan Buddhism. Richard Gere wears the Tibetan cause on his sleeve. And this year, the community has marked the 50th year of its arrival in India to seek refuge. We take you on a trip through everything Tibetan.
Majnu ka Tila
A Tibetan refugee camp since the 1960s, Majnu ka Tila, aka MT, is Delhi’s Little Lhasa. Once you are in its lanes, you would cease being in Delhi. Here, wrinkled momolas (grannies) kill time sitting on pavement benches. Chummy uncles drink butter tea and CD shacks play Tibetan pop stars like Phurbu T Namgyal. Rosy-cheeked boys, fresh from Lhasa, smoke Marlboros at street corners.
Once here, do dine at Dolma House. One of the oldest establishments in MT, the momos here are worth living for. Even if you are a die-hard butter-chicken fan, don’t fail to ask for the veg steamed momos (Rs 35), although they take their own sweet time to come since the lady says that momos are cooked only once the order is taken. You’ll get other usual suspects like thukpas and noodles, too.
Ever tried thenthuk? It’s a noodle soup served as dinner in Tibet. You may also like Tibetan sausage (Rs 55). By the way, this reporter swears by Dolma House’s strawberry lassi (Rs 20). This place also has rooms to stay, but it seems Tibetans and foreigners are more likely to get admission. Where House No. 1, block number 10; Time 8.30 am to 10 pm; Ph 238-11-4117
The Coffee Shop
Opened late last year, it is one of the hippest places in MT. Here you find modernity mixing seamlessly with Tibetology – saffron-robed lamas tap on laptops even as MT’s young-and-cool crowd keep up with the latest gossip. Coffee is as interesting as you find in any big retail chain; the brownies (Rs 35 each) are good, the fruit cake nice and crumbly. All the baked goods, by the way, are homemade. Where 39th block, New Camp; Time 9 am to 10 pm; Ph 2381-1829
Situated in the pebbled square at MT, come here in the evening, around 6 pm, when the monks start their chanting. You may finally find your nirvana.
Built to commemorate the 2500th year of Lord Buddha’s attainment of nirvana, this park was dedicated to the 14th Dalai Lama in 1993. While you would find lovers busy doing their thing behind the bushes, the large statue of the Buddha may make you long for a visit to the real Tibet. If that’s too far, go to the Indraprastha Millennium Park, next to Sarai Kale Khan ISBT. The 30m high Vishwa Shanti Stupa was unveiled by the Dalai Lama two years ago. Where Near Dhaula Kuan
Tibetan Market, Janpath
This is the place for junk shopping nirvana. Almost 40 years old, this market has all the touristy Tibetan trinkets you can dream of – from necklaces to prayer bells to masks to little Buddhas. As part of NDMC’s efforts to upgrade its markets ahead of the Commonwealth Games, the Tibetan Market was spruced up in 2007.
Tucked away in leafy Lodhi Road, this five-storey complex has a museum of Tibetan art and artefacts, and a library (no membership required) with over 5,000 manuscripts and books. Where 1, Institutional Area, Lodhi Road; Time 10 am to 5.30 pm (1-2 pm lunch). Closed on weekends
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