Dharamshala 2018 : The Tourist Circuit

Day 2 : Itinerary

10:30 am – Tsug-la Khang Complex, home to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

12:30 pm – Himachal Pradesh Cricket Stadium

1:30 pm – Lunch @ Norbulingka Cafe

2:00 pm – The Norbulingka Institute

4:00 pm – The Temple of Gyuto Tantric University

5:00 pm – Shopping at Mall Road, McLeod Ganj

6:30 pm – Dinner at Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen, McLeod Ganj

Tsug-la Khang Complex

Tsug-la Khang Complex, Home of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Tsug-la Khang Complex, Home of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Our second day in Dharamshala began with the visit to the abode of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at Theckchen Choeling, also called the Tsug-la Khang. Here we covered the Tibetan Museum, Dalai Lama temple or the Tsug-la Khang temple and the Kalachakra temple all located in the complex. The prior post has the details.

Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium

There is an entrance fee of Rs. 20/- per person to enter the stadium. It is well maintained, but not a popular pitch due to the unpredictable weather conditions. The dark clouds in the photos are indicative of the rains that soon followed. An umbrella is a blessing to have at this moment, else by the time you reach the taxi, you will be wet through or will have to wait it out at the stadium.

Norbulingka Institute

It’s an institute showcasing the Tibetan art and crafts. We entered the institute in pouring rain and hungry. There is an entrance fee of Rs 45/- per person. We head straight to the cafe for some lunch.

Norbulingka Cafe

There is also a restaurant in the premises for more filling grub. At the Norbulingka Cafe, we tried the Chicken pizza, Chocolate tart and tea. Food was good and we enjoyed the hot tea watching the rain….

The rain petered out after half an hour and we made our way to the Institute. We first wandered into the Norling House, stepped out as soon as we entered, realising that it’s a hotel, if you wish to stay and explore Norbulingka. There are workshops held here, if you want to get hands on.

We then ventured into the wood carving section, painting section and so on. We were silent observers, watching the craftsmen were busy with their work and they took the tourist curiosity in their stride. There are guided tours available. There is a store in the Institute, all these handicrafts are on sale there. What did we buy…? Fridge magnets as souvenirs 🙂

Temple inside the Norbulingka Institute

Called the Deden Tsug-lag Khang, it is presided by a 14 ft statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. There is also an art gallery on the upper floor.

Prayer flags outside the temple situated in the Norbulingka complex
Prayer flags outside the temple situated in the Norbulingka complex

Losel Doll Museum

Situated inside the Norbulingka Institute, a charming place which brings to life the erstwhile life of the Tibetans.

Coracle - vessel made of skin stretched over a wooden frame
Coracle – vessel made of skin stretched over a wooden frame

The dolls are dressed beautifully with all the intricate details and are depicted as enacting a scene.

Costumes worn by the people of Ngari in Tibet. Behind is the Mount Kailash, the most celebrated mountain in Tibet.
Costumes worn by the people of Ngari in Tibet. Behind is the Mount Kailash, the most celebrated mountain in Tibet.
A picnic scene in Tibetan culture.
A picnic scene in Tibetan culture.

Each display is elaborately explained and it’s a pleasure to read through. You can spend a lot of time here….

Religious costumes - the red and maroon robes came to be recognized as the monastic robes of Tibet
Religious costumes – the red and maroon robes came to be recognized as the monastic robes of Tibet

The Temple of Gyuto Tantric University

A class just got over as we reached the monastery. Set with the background of the distant Dhauladhar peaks. It’s a majestic monastery.

Shopping @ Mall Road, McLeod Ganj

Our last stop for the day. Everyone has a favourite shop. Mine was the Hand Made Recycled Diary shop. A tiny cubicle with a very colourful display of notebooks. I picked three. A hour or more can easily be spent strolling along the narrow roads with plenty of collectables on sale – Thangka paintings, jewellery, handicrafts, artifacts etc.

Jimmy’s Italian Cafe

It’s located right next to Nick’s Italian Kitchen. But unlike latter is a non-veg restaurant. We sat by an open window with a beautiful view of the distant deodar slopes. The food was good but the presentation was not photograph worthy…..so skipped the pictures of the food.

Back to the hotel. What we missed out on this trip was the Kangra Fort and the Masrur rock-cut temples. Will keep for the next time.

Tomorrow we check out and head for Dalhousie….

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