We will be travelling by train from Gaya to Dehra Dun on November 9th. We arrive in Dehra Dun the next morning, on the 10th. It’s about a 26-hour ride. From the train station we’ll rent a jeep (with a driver, of course) to take us to the Tibetan Children’s Village school in a nearby town, called Selakui. I talked to the secretary and principal of the school, who told me that we could stay in the school’s guesthouse for about 175 Rupees a night (about $3). We’ll have our meals at locals parents’ houses for 150 Rupees a meal (great opportunity to build rapport to get some interviews for my project). We plan to stay at the school for about two weeks of the three week fieldwork period (if all goes well and we collect enough information to write our papers), then we’ll spend some time exploring the Dehra Dun area. One place in particular that I hope to see is Mussorie, a mountain resort town for upper-class Indian families (bouge) that has an access point for a hike up to see the Himalayan range(!!!!!!!!!!).
We want to go on other short day trips: to a Tibetan colony, a famous Tibetan library and university, etc. Then we will take another train to Dharamsala where we will actually write our papers. McCleod Ganj, as it is called, is the Upper part of Dharamsala – the program director, Robert, recommended it to us as a quieter place to get our work done. It is also beautiful (I’ve seen photos) and is where the Dalai Lama’s palace is. It’s in the foothills of the Himalayas (which means it’s quite cold) and apparently views of the range surrounds it. McCleod Ganj is a place that I knew from the beginning of this trip that I couldn’t leave India without visiting.
In my preliminary reading for this project, I’ve been reading the Dalai Lama’s sister’s autobiography (HH Dalai Lama aka HHDL founded the TCV schools then handed it over to this sister, Jetsun Pema). She writes about how the first place that the Indian government placed the Dalai Lama and his family when he was exiled was Mussorie! Then he travelled by train to Dharamsala. So, we’ll be following the path that HHDL took in exile in 1960. Amazing.