5 Things that only a local can tell you about Dharamshala !!

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Photo of 5 Things that only a local can tell you about Dharamshala !! by Manu K K Verma

It was 7 am on the clock and I was near Mclodganj taxi stand looking for a taxi. Since I was travelling solo, I had no idea about the drivers, prices etc. It was then I met three girls…yes three local Tibetan girls. First let me tell you the people here are amazing. She called her family driver to take me to places I wanted to visit. The driver said he will be there at 8 am to pick me up and there I got the chance to spend about one hour with them. Here goes what I got to know –

1. What’s your name I asked? All three said “Tenzin” and laughed:

I was smiling seeing them laughing but was confused and had a question mark of how all three can share the same name!! Yes guys…Let me tell you something interesting about this, which I got to know.

The religious name of the Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso. Now you must be thinking what it has to do with their names…!! So let me tell you whenever any child is born in the Tibetan family, they keep the child’s name as suggested by the religious Guru which become child’s second name after the first name that’s “Tenzin”. So had I been a Tibetan, my name would have been “Tenzin Manu”. So every Tibetan has a common first name. Tenzin means "the holder of Buddha Dharma". Interesting isn’t??

Here goes the picture of my friends. Also they told me that the bench where we are sitting on the taxi stand road, locals call it “Gossip Bench”…

Photo of 5 Things that only a local can tell you about Dharamshala !! 1/3 by Manu K K Verma
Gossip bench and my new friends out there

2. If you are lucky enough, get to eat “PATRODE” :

I was coming back to Chandigarh and I was lucky to have this girl on the seat next to me in the bus. We started talking and then came the golden moment when she offered me a dish named “Patrode”. Seriously!! It was finger licking good. I asked her about it and she told me that in mountains there are certain leaves, we put batter on it, steam it and fry it till the time it gets crispy.

I searched about it and got to know that there is a tree with heart shaped leaves and it’s called Colocasia tree. Locals pluck these leaves and make really delicious dish with them. No restaurant offers this native dish. You will find to find it.

3. Guru ji and ANI-LA

Whenever wesee people in maroon clothing, we call them monks. They live in Monasteries and spend their lives there in the quest of religious study. They don’t marry. They just surrender their lives to serve the almighty.

Did you know that the male monks are known as “Guru ji” out of respect. Guru ji means “spiritual teacher” and we usually know this terminology.

But I had no idea about what a female monk is addressed and this is what I have learned from a local. They are called “ANI- LA”.

”LA” is a suffix used out of respect for these women. “LA” can also be added after their name. Suppose someone’s name is Mindrol. Out of respect we can call her “Mindrol La”.

Photo of 5 Things that only a local can tell you about Dharamshala !! 2/3 by Manu K K Verma

4. Comodo Dragon :

Love for photography?? Beware your steps in the wilderness. I was in the car and my driver stopped it in the middle of the road. I could see was crocodile shaped lizardabout 1.5 feet long crossing the road. I quickly took my camera out of my bag to capture this weird looking animal. But by the time I had my camera on; the animal had turned its back towards me.

I told my driver that I am getting off the car to capture it and I will just capture it from his back and will not go towards his front.

And that was the time something came to me like a surprise. He told me that this is an animal that only attacks using its tail and its tail is as sharp as a sword. He told me this is just a baby animal and the adult ones are really big in size.

The local name of this animal is “go”, some also call it “kulsat” and in English we call it a “Comodo dragon”. Like I told you I couldn’t capture it, here goes one from the internet for your reference.

5. River side is soothing:

I am a nature lover and I never mind sitting near a river even for hours. This time while I was sitting at the river side, a local came and told me that it’s not safe to sit near the flowing water because when the flow increases, it does not give you time to walk away. I asked her” how do you get to know!! You people wash your clothes here sometimes”.

She told me that the best way to know about it is the color of clouds. If you see dark clouds that simplymeanthat the climate at the upper mountain region is not good and the water may rush with uncontrollable speed to the lower regions.

She suggested me never to sit near a river thinking that the water is less, especially in the monsoons.

Photo of 5 Things that only a local can tell you about Dharamshala !! 3/3 by Manu K K Verma

Keep interacting with people and keep travelling !! Have fun :)

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