“Glory of Creation lies in its infinite diversity.” Creativity is analogous to diversity, as one would not exist without another. India, which serves as the base to the incredible palette of the diversity of ethnicity, religion, culture and so on, enriches the creativity flourishing from the diverse backgrounds. In the endless journey to explore India, there is no starting or ending point. For it is only wise to explore and accept things as they come your way. So, I began my journey from the Mini Tibet located in the heart of Northern Delhi, Majnu ka Tila.
Majnu Ka Tila: The Mini Tibet of India
A small Tibetan Market located on the banks of river Yamuna serves as an ideal place for India’s penchant for colors and diversity. Rich in the historic edifice, the place was named in memory of a love lost man, Majnu, who ferried people across the Yamuna River for free, as a service to God. The Gurudwara built to commemorate the stay of sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Gobind provides spiritual significance to the culturally rich place.
The thing that strikes one the most while walking in the busy streets of Tibetan Refugee Market is that it soon transcends into a walk in a hill station; embellished with prayer flags, narrow Parisian streets, monks and Buddhist backpackers. As one venture forth deeper into the Mini Tibet, the community temple stands in a royal majestic view in the middle of the settlement. The prayer flags possessing different textures and signifying the spiritual Buddhist messages embraces you in the warm close-knit community. The flag represents the five elements of nature: air, water, earth, fire, and sky; casting a serene tranquility over the desolate truants.
The street food resounds of Tibetan culture, which serves various delicacies, among which “lapping” (pronounced as ‘laughing’) is certainly worth a treat. Served either dry or with cold soup, they are bite sized potato starched dried cakes, with fillings of minced garlic, soya sauce, sesame seeds, vinegar and red chili sauce. Various restaurants and cafés, like Ama’s and Kori’s, provide relief to the tired travelers, without wrenching their pockets. While the sumptuous meals at an affordable price are hard to resist, the place has much more to offer.
Casually strolling in the heart of Mini Tibet on a sun-drenched autumn evening, the vibrancy of colors of the place uplifts the mood instantly. The streets are lined with local shops selling the East-Asian fashion, from t-shirts to tapestries. Shops like Akama offers a wide range of Himalayan handmade soaps made of yak milk, goat milk, and honey, incense sticks, Tibetan singing bowls and so on.
The Tibetan Refugee settlement thrives on the teaching of His Holiness Dalai Lama and brought back the basic philosophies of Buddhism- to lead a moral and spiritual life, and be mindful of thoughts, words, and actions. Their relentless yet peaceful struggle to free their homeland from China goes on, as they add vibrancy to the rich cultural diversity of India with their creative abode, called Mini Tibet.