Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy Valley

As you may remember, while at the old George Everest House, I had the opportunity to look down into Happy Valley, a small Tibetan settlement a couple kilometers down hill from Mussoorie.  Naturally, after hearing about it, I wanted to see it.  So, along with one other ETA (Nick) and a Dutch Hindi school student (Sita), I ventured down into the valley.

And it was beautiful.  Very peaceful, and not at all touristy (the place isn’t even in Lonely Planet!).  The first place we visited was a small Buddhist temple.  I have only been to one other Tibetan Buddhist temple before: the one in McLeod Ganj, the Dalai Lama’s current place of residence.  Both temples are lavishly decorated, and covered with beautiful paintings, depicting scenes from the Buddha’s life.  The McLeod Ganj temple was much more well-tended than this one though; it seems that the Dalai Lama’s first home in India receives far less money than his present one.  The Happy Valley temple was still beautiful though, despite the peeling paint and rickety scaffolding.

The Temple
Entrance to the temple
Tibetan lion

Peaceful scene

A nice sign in the SOS children's village

As we walked around the community, we noticed several schools, and a number of “hostels” which were part of the SOS Children’s Village, an orphanage for Tibetan children.  (There are SOS Children’s Villages all over India.  I believe the parent organization is based in Germany.)  The whole place had a different feel to it; I really felt that I had left India for a little while, and possibly entered Tibet.  Much quieter and less showy than McLeod Ganj, but every bit as beautiful.

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