Lemongrass tea at the Hummingbird Café

In March 2017 my dear friend Kate and I fulfilled a lifelong dream of traveling to India. We spent 18 days exploring the north of India and had an incredible range of experiences from spiritual to cultural as well as learning about the history of the Mughal empire. Food wise, we ate many thalis and drank almost a hundred cups of masala chai. This blog is part of a series on our trip to India.

MCLEOD GANJ – It was our last day in Dharamsala. It was early March and the region had experienced very late snowfall. We were completely unprepared for the cold weather but made the most of our time in Mcleod Ganj despite the chilly weather.

We planned to visit Dharamsala to experience Tibetan culture but we got more than we bargained for. During our time in the town famous for being the home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama we were able to participate in a march for National Uprising Day. We also were fortunate to attend a teaching by His Holiness.

On our final day in town – the sun came out and we made our way to the Norbulingka Institute to learn more about the importance of preserving Tibet’s cultural heritage.

Norbulingka is an arts and culture centre consisting of a number of workshops where traditional painting and woodcarving is practiced to preserve the cultural legacy of the Tibetan people.

With the destruction of several monasteries in Tibet by the Chinese government the threat of Tibetan culture disappearing is real.

The Institute is situated in a beautiful garden with tall bamboo reeds and rows of prayer wheels. It’s an oasis of tranquility and the environment inspires mindfulness.

After our walk around the complex it was lunch time. We found a table in the courtyard outside the Hummingbird café. The chef came and took our order, I asked for lemongrass tea and he plucked some out of a bush near the water fountain.

Lemongrass tea with a view

We had an incredible lunch of momos (Tibetan dumplings) and Mothuk (momos in a vegetable and tofu broth).

Mothuk – Tibetan dumplings in a tofu and vegetable broth

Everything was so fresh. It was the perfect experience for our last day in town and we took a lot of photos to remember our visit there.

At the teaching we attended the day before The Dalai Lama concluded his teaching with the a prayer that the truth of Tibet will one day be known.

Sitting in this tranquil garden, surrounded by running water, snow-capped mountains, bright blue skies and prayer flags blowing in the wind it gave me a sense of what life in Tibet could be like, if there was no occupation.

I left with a prayer in my heart that the truth of Tibet will one day be known.

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