The above picture is the small notebook I keep in my bag in case I need to write down directions or other notes (list of people to get gifts for, send postcards to, etc). In the front I have a rough conversion chart so I can haggle quickly. The bottom right picture in the set is from the Red Fort.
I’m participating in Emory’s Tibetan Studies program in Dharamsala, India. I’ll be taking four courses: Tibetan religion, Tibetan culture, Tibetan language, and an independent research project during the last month of the program.
We’re spending a few nights in Delhi, then heading to Pragpur and then to our dorms at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies. I’ll be with a Tibetan roommate for 6 weeks before doing a homestay for a few weeks before Spring Break.
I arrived in Delhi two nights ago and I’m already facing my first (and hopefully last) bureaucratic challenge: the consulate issued my visa for the wrong city. One other classmate is having the same problem, so at least I’m not alone in this. We spent maybe two hours this morning with one of the program directors, going to some sort of camera shop / photo studio to get passport photos, then we had to go to a copy shop to get copies of our passports and visas. After that, we had to fill out an online form to get an appointment at the Foreigner Regional Registration Office. We’ll be going there on Monday with the program director.
Since we’ll be missing the group activities on Monday, we decided to go out ourselves and try to do some of the stuff today. We took the metro to Chandni Chowk and tried to find our way to the Jama Masjid Mosque, but we got lost in the gulleys of the bazar (the TA’s advice was something along the lines of “Exit the subway, follow the huge crowd of people, go between the Bodhi tree and a brightly colored temple, you’ll see a sweet shop, then go down a long gulley”). We eventually ended up outside a Jain temple that was closed to visitors, so we opted to go to the Red Fort.
The Red Fort is a large complex of gardens and buildings surrounded by red sandstone walls. Several of the buildings are made of marble with beautiful inlaid floral designs. The whole site seems to be in a sad state, with a lot of the inlay missing, and none of the extensive waterways/fountains operational. It was a nice break from the chaos of the market area we wandered in for a while.
After this, we took a tuk-tuk to the Tibetan colony, Manju Ka Tilla. I had some butter tea (a salty Tibetan tea), thukpa (soup), and momos (dumplings). We wandered the tiny streets of the colony, then headed back by tuk-tuk to our hotel. This last set of pictures is from the airport, the entrance to Manju Ka Tilla, and one of our tuk-tuk rides.