McLeod Ganj is home to the Dalai Lama, who settled here temporarily in 1960. Five decades later he still lives here, and his modest residence within a small temple complex in the south side of town is now his permanent home in exile.
This area, situated amongst lush green hills, experiences some of the highest rainfall in the country and perhaps the world. My time here has proven to be no exception as it has rained everyday, multiple times a day, most of the downfall torrential in nature. The streets run with mud.
I think I expected the home of the Dalai Lama to be serene, maybe peaceful, maybe not as chaotic as the rest of the India I’ve seen thus far. Maybe some monks meditating over the virtue of trash collecting and creating a clean environment. Maybe just a tiny bit more interest in serenity and cleasnliness. Not so. While the verdant green hills stand in silent testomony, cloaked in fluffly shawls of grey and white cloud, Mcleod Ganj itself is cramped and teeming. The humans share their narrow dirt and gravel streets with cows, goats, monkeys, stray (and at times vicious) dogs, motorcycles, and cars. Just as the with the rest of India pedestrians scurry out of the way of vehicle who rule the road with sheer force of might. If you don’t jump out of the way of a barreling automotive machine, honking like a demon to let you know it’s coming the fuck thru whether you like it or not, you get yelled at/scolded with extreme derision for being a slow piece of shit that dares impede the progress of fucking progress. Have feet? Fuck you. Get out of the way.
…Which I show I found myself standing in a huge pile of cow shit. Least it wasn’t human excrement.
On our second day here I was stricken with the bane of all travelers, T.D. Not pretty. The first day is the worst as your guts basically squeeze anything you might like to put inside of them out. I stayed close to the hotel which blessedly had a proper toilet, and not a squat hole. Hanging on the balcony I observed. An old monk clad in red and orange robes struggling up a flight of stairs, cane in one hand. A gaggle of monkeys pulling laundry off of hanging lines and cackling about it. Infinite rolling clouds opening up into torrential rain. Endless white travelers. Yes, white people.