dharamsala #1: the candle march

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the tibetan shops were all closed the first day we arrived in dharamsala. another monk immolation happened in tibet, the atmosphere of mourning felt all over the town. we went for an afternoon mass prayer and walked the candle march that night from tsuglag khang (dalai lama’s temple). the tibetan community of dharamsala were all out in the street and walk the march around town. snow was pouring hard.

i can’t describe my feeling. being among the monks and the tibetan people. among the chants, prayer and shout. i don’t know the language. but the language of the heart touched my very soul. i cry on the street of dharamsala and among its people. i understand this longing of going home to lhasa, i wish one day to be in lhasa and to be among those mountain once again in this very life. i thankful that universe brought me to dharamsala on that very moment. to cry among them.

never in my life i feel to be in such in a right place. that there is no coincidence like dagpo rinpoche said, where your wheel of life and karma brought you back to where you belong, to your home and you are born a new to the path of dharma. i walked myself among the march, lighting my own candle. my own very name: dian. the candle that would never die. that hope and goodness would never die.

om mane padme hum

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the path to dharamsala

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majnu ka tila, new delhi

the first step when we went inside majnu ka tila is to realized that we are not in india. it was raining and damp that afternoon. we took the metro and stop at the kashmiri gate. took an auto and drop around majnu ka tila, called lobsang to pick us up at the front of majnu ka tila alleyway. i can’t help to remember (again) that this area look like janti area in jogjakarta.

we went inside majnu ka tila and transferred to the world of tibetan. buying a bottle of water and getting stared at because i use english (i look local, oh well). drink our first yak butter tea. buy our first yak wool blankets which proof to be one of the most useful things in our trip.

we took our first indian bus ride at 6 PM. it would take us 12 hours to reach dharamsala. i prefer not to see how in the hell he was driving the bus to reach that distance in half a day. we had to stop two times to have dinner – a delicious chicken curry – and an early morning chai before going up to the mountains. we reach dharamsala when it was still pitch black around 6 AM, took a taxi of a nice old indian driver and settle ourselves at ladies venture, mcleod ganj. we slept at the kashmiri hotel, basically freezing until it was time for breakfast at 9 AM. being an island people surely needed time to adjust with north indian winter.

dharamsala welcome us that morning with a light snow. exactly at the moment that we have our breakfast outside in the lodging patio. the first snow of our lives.

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abmi first yak butter tea | prayer wheel by an old tibetan lady in the bus | dalai lama picture at our bus to dharamsala

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i had dream this trip to dharamsala over and over. and i can’t help myself to feel i am at the right place. it felt that i’ve been away for so long, walk so many path, passing so many journey and finally come home. something fulfill my heart and i can’t explain it to anyone. accept that i’m here, in my right place, in my own heart and i don’t need anything else.

delhi #dayfive

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sarojini market, new delhi

it was a shopping spree day at sarojini market. where everything is super cheap but good quality. how in the hell in the world you could find a good zara winter jacket for only a dollar. all out in the market. we managed to get basically all the winter clothing requirements for a colder temperature in dharamsala. we went with mia, constanz and danish. all of us went mad with the shopping, we basically fill an auto with our shopping. because of this, i basically say if you go to india, don’t really bring clothes, just buy here because it’s super cheap! sarojini totally rocks!

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delhi #dayfour

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i can’t help myself to compare haus khaz village with kemang area in jakarta or maybe also cikini. but this is new delhi. it’s a complex of so many beautiful things thrown together. buildings, houses, artist studios, boutiques, shops, galleries and restaurants. it’s unbelievable to find it here. that is my impression coming to hauz khas village the first time. the auto (we call them bajaj in indonesia, which actually stand for the indian brand) would just drop us in the entrance, cars are not allowed to enter the complex. and yes, indian auto have meter on them like taxi but often they don’t work and you have to haggle with the driver. all the time. me and abmi look local, that often we got auto driver who we realized cannot speak english (“no english, madame”) in the middle of our trip and we had to use body language to tell the way.

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delhi #daythree

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our third day in new delhi. we spent such a long day and experience so much. we had our mobile numbers. it’s quiet easy and a little hassle, but avinash driver took us through and we’re suddenly connected. make sure you always bring photocopies of your pasport and visa, and always have extra passport size pictures everywhere. it makes things easier to do things.

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delhi #dayonetwo

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me @ indira gandhi international airport – new delhi

yup, we arrived in new delhi safely at night. finding our own way to british council in the middle of new delhi. can’t help to notice the way the travel driver drove. the extra honking that i would get used to the next few days and can’t believe i sort off missing it now. finding avinash at the opening of UNBOX festival in the middle of the crowd. hugging rikta who can’t believe i actually finally come. end up sleeping at avinash house upstairs in hauz khas main. with his mom warming the food in the middle of the night and i feel i was 13 again, the last time maybe my own mother did that. end up crazy late talking with avinash’s auntie, srivalli before we hit the bed. india felt home in a night.

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