The journey from Mussoorie, where I'm currently living in Uttarakhand, to Dharamsala is nothing short of a grueling adventure. From Mussoorie, my friends and I took the public bus down the mountain to Dehradun, from there we caught the 12 hour overnight bus to Dharamsala. The ride was quite bumpy and there were several times I thought the bus might just tip over onto its side. Luckily, my worries proved to be paranoia and we made it safely.
I traveled to Dharamsala with my friend Tenzin whose family fled from Tibet when her father was 4 years old. Tenzin was born and raised in Tibetan communities in northern India, but has hopes that one day she and her family will be able to return to their home country.
Tenzin's family used to live in Dharamsala, so she showed us around town and took us to The Tibet Museum, Norbulingka Institute, and a few of the Buddhist temples. Learning about the history of the Tibetan people in Dharamsala was surreal. Dharamsala is the center of Tibetan culture and home to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Walking down the street and passing the older Tibetans left me in awe of their humble resilience. These are the people who have vivid memories of the violence in the 1950s and were forced to walk through the snow-capped mountains into India to escape.