Delhi’s little Tibet, Majnu ka Tila or Romeo’s Hillock- From the narrow lanes to the hidden marvels of Tibetan culture, a tiny neighbourhood in north Delhi popularly known as MKT by the Delhi people, is a little Tibetan refugee colony which is a favourite hub for the north campus students in Delhi. It is not just a place to explore but this place will also make you come across some of the kindest people you will ever meet. With many tales from the pages of Delhi’s history, Majnu ka Tila offered me with variety of experiences that brings this place altogether in a different light, be its culture, tradition, cuisines and the artistic world, this place has so much to unwind. Walking past the old buildings and the popular foot over bridge commonly known as the Tibetan bridge, brings on the most overwhelming experience. The colourful triangular shaped prayer flags with chants written on them, each denoting something with reason, incites a spiritual feeling. The small tranquil lanes take us to this cultural hub which is overwhelming.
Passing the winding alley, I got an opportunity to peek into some local traditions that were disappearing. I met old craftsmen and women who were preserving some of the dying arts and crafts. Many Tibetan shops lined up on both sides of the streets, had a tale to tell. The narrow lanes ahead opened into a bright courtyard facing the monastery where Monks walk around immaculately dressed up in vibrant red and yellow robes. They are the practicing Buddhists, who follow the true moral of life living with the basic philosophies of Buddhism- to lead a mindful life so as to develop wisdom and understanding.
Since 1960, they have settled here, selling Chinese goods and items, which is one of the means of their livelihood. This mini-land houses many restaurants, hotels, cafes, travel agencies and monasteries. The temple has quintessential Tibetan look and feel, and sometimes we get an opportunity to see the monks perform their prayers and rituals. It is indeed a great place to shop for unique items and fashion jewellery. They have roadside stores making it a splendid street market with the collection of Tibetan stuff that are ideal for home. The uniqueness of these items come in reasonable prices- items such as prayer wheels, idols, multicoloured prayer flags and strong perfumes, many posters on the wall all around this place saying ‘Free Tibet’, and few local shops selling badges under this slogan.
Sustaining with its cultural ethos, marking its uniqueness with the warm aroma of Tibetan and Nepali flavours, this place serves authentic Tibetan food which mainly includes dimsums and thukpa. Graceful Tibetan ladies selling momos in their traditional attire in the courtyard, traditional delicacies that spread with the Tibetan tastes known for its high nutritious value and the richness of flavours . Living with the faint echoes of Dalai Lama’s preaching, this narrow alley houses many vibrant colours of traditions and cultures of Tibet. This prodigious place is a perfect blend of preserved fragment of Tibetan culture and pleasurable escape from Delhi’s heat and crowd, this quaint place has something magical that cannot be explained. The mist of the pleasant scents that unfurl and unveil the mighty place is unbelievable and had everything it had promised to be- both cultural and curious.
Ras Al Khaimah