Meet the Little Tibet of Delhi

Updated By on Mar 07, 2017, 09:00 am
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The streets of Majnu Ka Tilla, a Tibetan colony also known as Little Tibet of Delhi, is located in northern New Delhi./ Photographed by Jeong In-seo


By Jeong In-seo, New Delhi correspondent, AsiaToday – On March 5, a group of monks in maroon robes at Vidhan Sabha metro station jumped to my eyes.

I joined them to go to Majnu Ka Tilla, which took 10 minutes from the station. As I went to the pedestrian overpass to cross the street, I saw many tarchog tied with rlung rta fluttering in the wind. Rlung rta means "wind horse" in Tibetan and is associated with free spirit and good fortune.

After passing rlung rta and tarchog, the entrance to Tibetan colony appeared. Just like McLeod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh, many Tibetans settled in this region. Locals call this place, "Little Tibet." As I got in, I saw two temples on a small vacant lot. Monks were praying inside the temples. The narrow inner part of the temples were not much different from the temples of Korea.

The inside of a temple in Tibetan colony. It's not so different from Korean temples./ Photographed by Jeong In-seo



I went back to the streets leaving the temples behind. Then something familiar in a display stand caught my eyes. They were Korean drama and film CDs. Popular K-dramas including "Boys Over Flowers" and "City Hunter" as well as films such as "Secretly Greatly" were on sale.

The storeowner said, "Young Tibetans are well aware of Korea." He said that Korean drams and movies are popular among young people. "It's not just young people in Delhi, but also people in McLeod Ganj like Korean drams. They know most of Korean actors."

Korean drama and film CDs are on sale in a display stand in Tibetan colony. Korea is a familiar country among young Tibetans./ Photographed by Jeong In-seo



I interviewed with young people in the region to find out whether that was true. To a question about Korean dramas, Gelmo (21) responded, "Annyeong ("Hello" in Korean). She said, "My favorite actor is Lee Min-ho. I watch all of his dramas. I watch Korean dramas every day, so I speak a little Korean. My friends enjoy watching Korean dramas, too. Recently, I watched 'Descendants of the Sun.'" Her friend Maitu also showed her affection towards K-dramas. She said, "Korean actors are really handsome and actresses are so beautiful. Many young Tibetans try Korean actors' hairstyles and clothes." She added, "I like K-pop as well. I especially like idol group EXO. I listen to their songs every day."

After the interview, I took a break while drinking chai, an Indian traditional tea. Then an Indian couple got my attention. Amit Kumar (25) visited the Tibetan colony with his girlfriend Riya (25). He said, "I came to visit this place on my friend's recommendation. You can experience a culture that is very different from Delhi. It feels like a different country."

The empty ground where the temples are situated are illuminated with candles in the evening./ Photographed by Jeong In-seo



In the evening, the empty ground where the temples were located were illuminated with candles. The monks and people lit up the candles and prayed. I carefully asked the monks how they thought about China. Namgel (41) said, "China and Tibet have crossed the Rubicon. So many people are dead and are dying now. Unless China stops Tibetan massacre, it's hard to expect any changes." Lawang (38) held a similar view. He said, "It's true that China massacred Tibetans. Many people are killed. But we can forgive them. But they must first acknowledge us. If they don't do it, we cannot reconcile."

Rlung rta and tarchog representing Tibet./ Photographed by Jeong In-seo



On March 4, the Indian government announced that Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will meet with Indian government officials at Arunachal Pradesh, the state over which India and China have a border dispute, as scheduled. Tensions between India and China are surging.

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