At McLeod Ganj, a suburb of Dharamsala, two narrow streets run uphill and parallel to each other with a narrow strip of shops, eateries and a temple separating them. At the top end is a junction of six roads including those sandwiching the temple. I found the Green hotel recommended by the big guides. It was full. I was relieved. Their prices are relatively high. But on request they pointed me to the Tashi Khangsar lodge opposite.
The daughter showed me a pokey single room but I asked for better windows. The double room with ‘en suite’ I was shown was what I wanted and had excellent views. At less than £4 a night and a good central position it was a gem of a room. With a little rearrangement and thorough spring cleaning I turned it into yet another ‘students room’.
Back down at lower Dharamsala I picked up a knockoff Northface backpack, eggs and bells. I tried and failed to source kerosene on the road back up. I needed a permit to buy it from the government outlet.
McLeod Ganj provides, in addition to the town centre temple, a residence for Tensin Gyatso aka HH the Dalai Lama and a major buddhist temple. Next to this and almost opposite a museum of Tibetan artefacts is a monument for Tibetans lost in the struggle against Chinese occupation.
I revisited the Dalai Lamas temple early the next morning and saw the butter lamps being lit and people prostrating themselves. I returned via a route that passed above the Tibetan centre for advanced studies and which overlooks the plains below.