Dalai Lama Temple was at the top of my list of must-sees when I headed for McLeod Ganj. I was looking forward to getting familiarized with the culture and history of Tibet. And McLeod Ganj, or the Little Lhasa, being the head quarter of the Government of Tibet in Exile, promised to offer me a close glimpse of what I was seeking.
When I boarded the comfortable volvo bus from Delhi to McLeod Ganj, I had these bits information, culled mostly from Wikipedia (you see, I'm a nerdy sort of traveller. Like to do a little research before going on a trip), in my head:
a. The Dalai Lama Temple, the most important tourist spot, is also the centre of Tibetan Buddhism. It was built in 1989 and was inaugurated by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Himself.
b. The Temple is the residence of the 14th Dalai Lama. Every year, tourists from across the globe come here to pay homage to His Holiness.
c. The Temple walls showcase brilliant specimen of Tibetan art.
d. It has statues of Shakyamuni, Avalokiteśvara, and a statue of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche).
Sure all these are true about the Temple, and the finesse of art seen on the walls will fascinate. But there's more to the story. The Dalai Lama Temple complex lets you witness some such things that you haven't expected to come across in a monastery.
1. Heated debate among monks!