taking a walk in india: photos | stories | essays

18 August 2016

Majnu ka Tilla


Majnu ka Tilla at New Delhi, set up as a Tibetan refugee colony about 55 years ago, has some good eateries that serve authentic Himalayan food. Dry days don't exist here. People visit MKT—as the regulars call it—on national holidays for a drink. That is how the people of Delhi see it.



But Majnu ka Tilla is still a place where discussions on the Tibet situation are active. If the pop culture elements of the place were removed you would find only hardships. Many of the inhabitants of the colony have been 'Indianized'. Still, it does not take away the fact that they have roots in Tibet. And Tibet is very far away. To the outside observer the issue appears long gone along with the Cold War—stories that appear in history textbook now.

The people at MKT say real runners from Tibet rarely come to India in modern times. Even if they did they would first go to McLeod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh. On a visit to McLeod Ganj four years ago a shopkeeper said only the ultra rich could flee Tibet now. They have to pay at every point of their journey till they reach their destination. This could only mean there is a network of people-movers that commands some price.

















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