Audience avec Sa Sainteté le Dalai Lama

[TRAVEL BOOK #17] – Arrival in Dharamshala, home of Tibetans in exile

[Dharamshala – Tsuglagkhang]

“And when you arrive, will you meet the Dalai Lama?

Of course not! Well, maybe to his teachings.”

//// If we had been told, we would not have believed it!

After 8 months, 15 countries, 14,000 km, 100 Tibetan prayer flags raised, we arrived in Dharamshala, home of Tibetans in exile (North India) for a few days!

Everything went by VERY quickly.

It’s hard to realize that we’re here; we let ourselves be carried by the smooth and freshness of the Himalayas!

We put our bicycles on the terrace with a view on the valley, and considering the difference in elevation, they might stay there for a while!

Enfin arrivées à Dharamshala !

Soon, our Tibetan friends tell us:

“After such a long journey, you must ask for an audience with his Holiness!”

So we laugh a little, we don’t believe it at all! But pushed by their optimism and their kindness, we try an email!

Just as we are thinking that we have created a false hope, the phone vibrates: we have an answer! See you on Wednesday 9 November, at 7.20am! Wow, that’s in less than 36 hours! We reread the email 5 times to make sure we understood it correctly, we are in shock! There must be a negation missing somewhere, for sure!

But what do we offer the Dalai Lama?

A bicycle? A drawing? A letter? A book?

Ok, let’s do the last three at the same time! Anai launches into the express layout of a booklet mixing illustrations, photos and texts! Printing, collage, annotation and binding: it’s done. Not quite perfect, but the heart is in it at 2000%!

Booklet pour le Dalai Lama

D-Day, we arrive a bit early at the temple. Léa, a friend who joined us for our arrival, accompanies us. She didn’t think she would be allowed to go through the door: palpitations, emotions and sudden stress when she understood that her name was on the list!

Tsuglakhang, temple du Dalai Lama - Dharamshala
Tsuglagkhang, Dalai Lama Temple – Dharamshala

Once through the security gate, we try as best we can to get our cute little key-ring of pastis and momo in: nothing to do, “alcohol is forbidden”.

In the queue, we meet Anne and Gérard, two Frenchmen who are very engaged in humanitarian work in Bhutan. A moment full of kindness and gentleness, just like the general atmosphere at Tenzin Gyatso’s doorstep.

“Cycle, cycle!”

Our turn comes. With our hearts ready to explode, the three of us are led towards the Dalai Lama. He takes our hands while one of his translators explains what we have just finished, with the map of the journey in front of us.

To our surprise, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama thanks us!

“Thank you

“Very appreciate


We pitch slightly before asking him for a blessing of the last prayer flags.

Audience avec Sa Sainteté le Dalai Lama
Blessing of the last Tibetan prayer flags

We float, a little haggard: “put yourself there” for a last photo, the one that proves that all this was not a hallucination!

Audience avec Sa Sainteté le Dalai Lama

We are so grateful to have been able to live this moment, a few tears flow. It will be half an hour before we are able to leave the temple.

Dazed, we recover our spirits over a coffee.

“After ecstasy, the laundry.

PS: no photomontage was involved, yes, yes, for real!

Drapeaux de prières

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