Gallery 51

The Tibetan Photo Project exhibits.

Jan.- Mar 2006 Joe's trip to India-The Diary

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Jan. 19
Greetings. Today was a travel day from McLeod Ganj in the north to Majnu-Ka-tilla at the north end of Delhi. The drive is 5 hours down onto the Indian plain and a total of 10 hours to this destination. Majnu-Ka-Tilla is the Tibetan Colony in Delhi.

Tibetans are returning north from a grueling 3-day train ride to the Kalachakra performed by the Dalai Lama in Southern India. It is the largest Buddhist gathering in India and with luck we will have photos and possibly a documentary DVD shot by a Tibetan filmmaker, Tashi Dhondup who was trained in Colorado on a Fulbright scholarship. But that is developing project... so more later..

Driving down out of the mountains, the road conditions came in all types and the biggest slowdowns were packs of monkeys that take up position on the road for heat and to check cars for food.

Did not get a whole lot of sleep last night because of the dogs that of McLeod Ganj. Sometimes quiet and sometimes not and last night not.,.. So, today tired. Have booked in to the Potala Hotel and will pray for some sleep... but first a look at the narrow alleys and the restaurants in Majnu-Ka-Tilla... oh and the Hotel, about $10 a night. Monks are in the streets and alleys in the hundreds... sorry if the report is a bit disjointed, but, there are people waiting in line behind me to use the Internet and I am just plain tired... Safe journeys to all

Visually and respectfully, Joe Mickey, Majnu-Ka-Tilla

Jan 20
Combine India time with Tibetan Time and well, it’s just relaxed...whew.... I have been trying to set up Lobsang or just get in touch.. about half a dozen people answer the phone when I call and he is not there so I went to the local STD line, (the local phone here) and its sketchy but you go in a booth and pay a guy when done... so I got half a dozen Tibetans who ran one of the Std booths here to call Lobsang's number and he knows I am coming on the 23 but there have been a lot of people involved in the translation, they just grouped around the phone and you can't organize them but they all fill in the words that the others don't know and I know none of them.

I am in Delhi, I fly to Bangalore tomorrow and will either bus or train to Hubli for arrival in Hubli on the 23. I have phone numbers for Lobsang so it will all get organized... Know that I have a clear plan... he just may not understand it... but I will get it...

Ventured out today into Delhi to the Red Fort that is about 5 miles from here, just the trip is an adventure... then backs here... India is daunting and very very overwhelming and so its baby steps out here on my own... But it goes well...

Visually and Respectfully, Joe Mickey

Jan 22
Morning... slept well and got up early... much warmer down here... will likely buy a shirt or two... This place is located at the edge of a very rich new neighborhood. people do however live in huts that are doing construction work... anyway, I booked it and my travel luck is holding , I booked it on Expedia about 10 minutes before leaving Delhi.

Bangalore is a hip city with lot of 5 stars so I ran down the Expedia list and this one is expensive for the trip... $35. but breakfast is free... so its all-good ad there is an Australian who just joined me for breakfast on the patio with his India book out so we will share the cab to the Bus Station. He is going elsewhere from there.. So, off again and again not knowing what the I net will be. Short of this one in the hotel office there are no internet cafes in this area.

Visually and Respectfully, Joe Mickey

Jan 23 -part 2
The bus to Hubli was first class for about $9 so I am safe and sound in Hubli and now working on Tibetan time with connecting with Lobsang. This is the only internet that anyone knew about in town and it closes early so this may be the only report today. I found a bank machine that takes visa so I am going to try a $200 or so/ (10,000 ruppes) / they have enlarged the limits since Lonely Planet published its latest version on India... so probably about $225 withdraw just because I can. I am not out of cash just staying secure cause this place is kinda wild.

Visually and Respectfully, Joe Mickey

Jan. 23 part 2
Just having a chance to drop a note today from Hubli, India. Outside the Tibetan Colony at Mungod, (two hours bus, they tell me) Today, India is everything they promised, hot, lousy Internet connections and electricity that only works sometime... the best thing is the cold showers. Have finally made arrangements to connect with Lobsang, the photographer from the south, but of course that is not as easy as it sounds... this is India... more later,

Visually and respectfully, Joe Mickey

Jan. 25
Today was an amazing day... Two days ago, on the streets in Hubli, I met Jamyang, the monk I sponsor ( ) and photographer Lobsang.

Lobsang arranged for a Tibetan driver, Adu, and a complete three-day tour of the Tibetan colonies, today I visited several monasteries and of course had a visit with Jamyang in the room he has lived for the past 13 years. I was promised the ride to the Tibetan colonies would be 45 minutes... I am learning Tibetan time.. its 45 minutes from Hubli on the highway to the road that runs into the Tibetan colonies... then another hour... past remote Indian villages, children going to schools in uniform and a grandfather teasing kids with the snake he just caught in the front yard. (Yes, I have this on film) The drive is slow due to the narrowness of the road, the potholes, and of course the cattle, goats, water buffalo. The Tibetan colonies are an amazing place, one of several huge tracts of land given to the Tibetans to settle in exile. The colonies at Mungod are made up of 9 colonies. 11,000 Tibetans, and monasteries and nunneries. It has schools, temples, old folks home, hospitals, banana, coconut, mango and rice plantations. Most people walk, the roads are narrow and dusty, the temples beautiful. The people beautiful... and the Tibetans have built it from the ground up.

A visit to a nunnery was a first, the director, a 29-year old who was the nunnery's first nun 19 years ago, showed me around and I interviewed her. Lobsang interpreted. The main reason the nuns take a different approach to being photographed is that most of them have escaped Tibet recently and fear reprisals toward their relatives still in Tibet.

Many nuns are also victims of torture at the hands of the Chinese.

The nun explained that they work with compassion and community but there is no formal training to help the new nuns with the mental distress caused by Chinese incarceration and torture and that volunteers would be welcome. These are such a beautiful and gentle people. In the schools the children learn three languages, Tibetan, Hindi and English.

Lobsang who is born in the colonies and second generation Tibetan in exile still retains a passion to return to Tibet and the return for all Tibetans.

Everywhere were amazing sights... Monks and at this time of the year, before the area goes into several straight months of over 120 degree heat, it is a little rural slice of paradise but the heat will come, the monsoons will follow and then it will all cool and turn green and be beautiful for a short while.

The temples are huge and offer cool space... they are created with money from sponsors around the globe. There is so much to tell... and email here in India is so sketchy so its time to ship this off and tomorrow

I will return to the colonies to spend the night with Lobsang and his family.

His father left Tibet with the Dalai Lama in 1959 and has lived in this house he built with his own hands... this is the nature of the community... Tea is poured endlessly and it is a place and people of sprit and kindness... so much more to tell... but off to pack for tomorrow's journey into the colonies...

Visually and respectfully, Joe Mickey

Gallery 52 continues diary





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