Pilgrimage to India and discoveries made(4 Oct 2016)Click here for more Photos
I flew from Toronto to India via Istanbul on 4th Oct, 2016 for Kalachakra and Bumchak. My plane, Air Canada, has two names at Istanbul and it confused my travel agent who come to pick me up at Delhi airport.
Istanbul airport is big, dirty and anything sold here is in Euro dollar. A bottle of water cost 2 euro.
After waiting for about 5 hours at Istanbul, Air Canada took us to a big open field in a Bus and made us climb the jumbo airplane with carry-on luggage. That was some experience.
My travel agent: Ngawang Jigdoe, young and hardworking
Ngawang Jigdoe Travel agent, Majnukatilai, is young entrepreneur. He and his business partner are good examples of young Tibetans working hard to make a living. They started Travel Agent without any financial help from any organization or parents. Their determination and hard work is all they have. They own a car which can be hired for sight- seeings. They also conduct pilgrimage tours.
I bought my return ticket, one way, to NYC(39,000 INR) from him too. While I was in India, I just call him up and ask him to book my air or train ticket and he send me the ticket photos or PRN number - just that simple. He saved me lots of money and painful bargaining with travel agents. His mobile number is 91+8285433834.
I stayed at Tashi Delek hotel at Majnukatila. Breakfast is included -bread, egg, channa and tea. AC room cost Rs 1300/ per day.
Unlock iPhone and phone:
I have to mention this because unlocking iPhone is hi-tech and many cities cannot do it. For instance, I tried unlocking my iPhone in Dharamsala and I was told to wait 14 days. I searched Varanasi high and low but did not find one shop that can unlock.
Inside Tibet Tour and Travel(TTT), there is a small shop and a young Tibetan entrepreneur. He unlocked my iPhone in less than half an hours. India has two ways to unlock iPhone- software and hardware. Hardware is a small sim-like chip that sits below the standard SIM card or chip and it does the trick. It cost me Rs1500.
If you have any iPhone, iPad issues, he is the guy.
Sankisa: Spot where Lord Buddha returned to Earth after visiting his mother in heaven
Tibetans call this place SuemChuTsasuem( heavenly abode 33 stories tall)
A trip by car, arranged by my agent, to Sankisa cost Rs 5000. I went early by 4 am and back to my room in Delhi by 4pm- same day. Delhi to Agra road is as good as any US or Canada freeway.
BodhGaya: Buddha attained Nirvana here
Delhi to BodhGaya by air is 45 minute and cost about 4500 INR. Arrived at BodhGaya on 18, Oct, 2016. BodhGaya airport is 15 minute drive by car from MahaBodhi Temple. Airport is not in Gaya but much nearer to BodhGaya. Since Delhi to BodhGaya air travel is covered by Air India airline only, air fare is costly. It is cheaper to fly from hub to hub (ie big cities to big cities) than point A to B. For instance, it is cheaper to fly from Delhi to Patna and from Patna it is 2 hour drive by car to BodhGaya. Taxi is expensive in India and road is bumpy.
I stayed at Namgyal monastery guest house A4; moved to b5 on 31 Oct. I stayed at b5 till Nov 22. Moved to Nechung monastery guest house, room number 208.
Tata Photon Wifi(data) does not work in BodhGaya. I wasted 4000 INR on it. In BodhGaya AirTel is good.
Another interesting thing about AirTel, another mobile carrier, is that if you have enough money in its phone account and your wifi (data) account has nothing left, then AirTel will deduct money from your phone account at very high rate. Therefore, recharge or top-up, your wifi(data) account if you want to surf the web or check your email or WeChat.
BumChak at BodhGaya
Frist day, I did 3 Chak on Oct 18, 2016, at BodhGaya and completed my 111,111 on 27th Jan 2017 with 2800 Chaks(it was Namgang-new moon) which was the maximum I did so far. I offered fruit and new Namsa to Buddha. Next day, I had a very good chance to take Buddha’s photo(without his extra monk robe) because it is being given a fresh coat of gold.
There are two types of smog (fog, dust, smoke from burning coal as fuel). This occurs in the month of November, December and January. All trains services are delayed due to this smog. Temperature can drop to minus 3 and wind can be quite cold.
Some mornings, smog is very thick and visibility is reduced to 4 or 5 feet. Such smog is very wet and drips water from tree leaves. Other mornings, smog is just thin or visibility is 10 to 15 feet. However both type of smog lifts by 10am when ground becomes worm due to sun. Smog can cause serious lung infections including pneumonia especially when weather is dry and cold. Coughing is common during winter. Many elder Tibetans became sick and hospitalized during Kalachakra due to smog and cold weather.
BodhGaya’s main Temple
Main temple in BodhGaya is under lock and key. Gate opens at 5am in the morning and closes at 9pm. Entry is FREE. Mobiles, flashlight(in India it is called torch), match box, lighters and cigarettes are not allowed. There are free service safe lockers for mobiles with keys handed to you. It is very safe. I kept my mobile there on many occasions. It is safer than the hotel room. Groups can keep all their mobiles in one locker.
Camera and iPad are charged Rs.100 for whole day. Video or camcorder is charged Rs 300.
ChakBang – wooden board on which prostration is done
Tibetans do 100,000 Chak or prostrations as one of the preliminary preparations- there are five or more in total, depends on advice of your Guru.
This seemingly simple task can be very deceiving. I met a Engi from US who did 500 Chak the first day and become sick for the next 3 weeks. Never do more than 100 per day for few days and increase gradually thereafter. For me, i did 3 the first day and next day I did 100 and slept for 12 hours – is it due to exhaustion or mattress that I slept on which is more a stone bed.
Here are few instances of medical interest where people reported that if they do more than 3000 Chak per day they would not get a wink of sleep. However if they keep it down around 2000 per day, they can sleep well. I think muscles are too tired and painful. Another strange phenomena that people report is that when they do more and more Chaks per day they felt as if someone is pulling them back when they walk forward. I had this experience too when I did 2800 chak. Normally, I would do 2100 Chaks per day- 5am till 12am. However, it was Namgang or new moon so I thought it was auspicious that I complete my 111,111 Chaks by doing 700 extra Chaks that day.
ChakBang can be hired from Namgyal or any other Tibetan Monasteries with deposit of Rs. 1000/.When ChakBang is returned they will pay back the amount. It is the easy part. Difficult part is where do you want to put the ChakBang? Main Stupa has limited space for ChakBang.
Main Temple is under the control of BTMC(BodhGaya Temple Management Committee), not Tibetan monasteries. You need shade but want to avoid bird dropping and Smog or water drips. If you have friends in India or better if he is in BodhGaya, ask him or her to keep a spot for your ChakBang under a shade but as close as possible to the main Temple.
If you want to avoid sickness during BumChak, give yourself enough time to complete it. It took 100 days, for me, (18 Oct till 27 Jan) to complete 111,1111. Take this advice seriously. I met two people who became very sick; they could not eat anything solid; body become weak -only flesh and bone; many doctor misdiagnosed them for TB. It lingered for many months. All they had to do was take iron and other vitamins and eat slowly back to health.
One of them was a lady from Swiss. Soon after about 50,000 Chaks she fell ill. Luckily she finished her 100,000 this year. I saw bruises on her knees and palm of her hand. The other individual is a monk who becomes sick soon after he completed his ChakBum. He was lucky and lady had to repeat all over again.
I used knee pad(soft ones, not hard ones) sold at HomeDepo and half gloves. You also need wrist band- heavy duty. Rest of the stuff for BumChak are sold in the BodhGaya market such as ChakDen, Hand pads etc. They are cheap too. You may also need waist band if you have back pain while bending. A good number of pain killer or muscle rubs are recommended too.
Wrist pain is new normal. You better learn to live with it and do your ChakBum regardless.
Who will make food for you? Eat at hotel or cook your own food? Cooking needs fuel, pots and grocery. In India people shop grocery every day because they don’t have fridge. Time is one thing that you don’t have. Body ache is a new reality. In the past main Temple is open 24hours. You can walk in and out any time in the morning without body checks. Many Tibetans start ChakBum at 3 or 4 am when temperature is cold. Today Gate opens only at 5am and body check takes minimum half hour because you are not alone. Sometimes que is so long that it takes almost 2 hours to get in.
I stayed at Namgayl Monastary Guest house (Rs350 per day) and ate at their kitchen(Rs150 per day). Namgyal Monastery serves only vegetarian food(egg is allowed); roti, tigmo, rice, noodles, dal and 2 types of Veg. Nechung Dorjee arranged it for me. I am very lucky.
Generous Couple: They serve tea and bread to all
This couple serves tea and bread to all those who do Bumchak at 6:15am for free in the morning, every day. There were at least 400 BumChak doers. For me, it was my breakfast after doing 500 Chaks. They receive donations from people like you and BumChak doers. Without their kindness, I may have a different story to tell or outcome.
Buddhist site tour
Sujata Stupa: She offered rice pudding to Buddha
Sujata offered rice-milk pudding to Sakyamuni Buddha when he nearly died of asceticism. He thought, ‘Yet this path cannot be realized by someone who has grown so weak’ and he ate pudding.
It is just across the BodhGaya bridge, next to a big Hotel. It is 10 minutes Rickshaw ride from BodhGaya temple for Rs 40. I saw many foreigners but no Tibetans visit this place. Most of relics found at this site were moved to BodhGaya Museum which is opposite to Hotel Mahayana (Hotel Mahaya belongs to Namgyal Monastery)- Entry fee is Rs. 10 only.
Odentapuri: Tibet’s first Monastery, Samyae, was modeled after Odentapuri monastery. It is in Bihar Shariff, Bihar, just 15km from Nalanda.
Most Tibetans miss these important archeological ruins and other Buddhist nations have almost no connection with it. However, its connection with Tibet is as important as Buddha himself.
When Naropa taught here at Phulahari mountain it bowed to Marpa instead of Naropa who was in Tibet. North-West side of this rocky mountain is steep Cliff and has illusion of bending towards North-West- Tibet. Six yoga’s of Naropa is followed by Kargyue, Sakya and Gelug lineages.
Atisha(982-1054ad) was here too who studied under Dharma Rashita for 12 years. ref: LamrimChemo. Atisha’s ChangChup LamDrol is the core text of Je Tsongkapa’s Lamrim Dring and LamRim Chenmo.
6th Dalai Lama(1706) visited this spot. Amdo Gendun Chophel was here too.
If Tibetans do not pilgrimage here, there is no protection given to it by ASI(Archeological Survey of India) either. It is on the verge of becoming a tourist resort. We have to show by visiting this spot how important it is to us.
How to get there
Follow the red line which I drew on the googleEarth satellite photo, above, to get to ruins.
Ask your driver to take you to Bihar Shariff, Bihar, after visiting Nalanda. Google map coordinate is 25°12'14.46"N, 85°30'15.11"E. Ask for Bari Pahari(Big Mountain in Hindi; it is also written as BadiPahadi), when you are in BiharSharif. A single road will take you to a huge rocky mountain, on the right. Take the right turn, facing the mountain, and ask for “BariPahari Masjid Road” or look for a gate that says, “Welcome to Hiranya Parbat”. It should be up the hill or left side when you drive. You can drive up the hill too. I did not know this and walked all the way. There is no fee to visit this site.
Please visit this ruin next time or else it will become a Muslim or a tourist site.
I left for Odemtapuri and Yangpachen (Vaishali) pilgrimage on 28th Jan, 2017, at 6am and returned home by 4pm. I hired a taxi from Gaya instead of BodhGaya who demand more money for the same trip(about 1000 more; I paid 4000 only).
Left side of the hill, as you taxi from Nalanda and face the mountain, is cliff. The left side road leads to garbage dump site. However right side of the mountain has gradual slop where hundreds of houses are built except the monument site on the top.
Yangpachen: Vaishali, Bihar.
Yangpachen is some 60 km north of Patna. There are few places such as rock with circular thatched roof with beautiful garden- entry free. Another spot where there is a huge stupa, again entry is free. Follow the main road to the left and there is the famous Asoka pillar with Buddhist remains. It is under ASI protection and entry fee is Rs 15 for locals.
Kirti Hotel at BodhGaya –a clarification
Hotel Kirti at BodhGaya is owned by an individual or private monk of Namgyal Monastery at BodhGaya. It is just a name Kirti which has nothing to do with the Kirti Monastery. Of course he made tons of money during Kalachakra as other hotel retailers did- jack up the price by 1000 percent. A room normally cost Rs 400 per day will cost Rs 7000 per day during 15 days of Kalachakra. Poor monks with a backpack cannot receive Kalachakra, today.
On 1st Feb I left to Varanasi.
I stayed at my friend’s house at CUTS(Central University for Tibetan Studies) which is 1km from the main stupa /monument at Sarnath, Varanasi, up, India.
I went to see Ghats near ganga. It is on end of Dashashwamedh Road. Burning Ghat is also next to it. Photos are not allowed as a matter of respect for the dead. Dead are cremated in open space near the bank of river Ganga with smell and emotions mixed.
Idli for Rs 16
Very fresh Idely with Sambar for Rs 16 at vishawanath Gali on the same road. Follow into Viswanath Gali and turn right at the first lane. Just a few steps and there is the Idely shop with line of people who wait for Idely. There is no chair or seats, just finish your Idely while standing on side or take it home. It is most fresh and safest food I found in Varanasi and dirt cheap.
Shankar: Riskshow puller
He told me that he was pulling rickshaw at the CUTS since he was 18. He is in his mid forties now.
CUTS canteen serves clean and very delicious veg. Thali with 2 tikmos, 1 green veg, 1 mixed veg and 1 dal; all for Rs 60 only.
Stupa’s entry is not free. Fee is now Rs 15 for the locals. For foreigners it is 200 per head. It closes at 5pm. Both exit and entry is from the same gate and no other exit gate is there as it used to have in the past.
Stupa has a new railing for extra protection.
Dharamsala/Kangra: Buddhist Monastery of 2bc till 400 AD
Rock inscription at Khanyara road(32°12'24.60"N 76°20'48.90"E)
Kangra valley, now Dharmasala, had many Buddhist monasteries from 1 BC to 300AD. In about 500AD Mihirkula persecuted Buddhism and drove them away from Kangra valley.
E.C. Bayley discovered two ancient inscriptions in 1854 AD at Khanyara road and Dari (Uparali Dari). He described inscriptions are 1 cm deep on two separate granite rocks. These inscriptions were originally edited by Bayley and later edited by Vogel. These are two separate inscriptions, one belongs to Asokan Brahmi which Sir Cunningham assigned 1st century BC. He further wrote that inscription reads “Arama” which is very common term for monastery in those days.
I was very lucky to find this spot with single trip. It was there all along since 1854 under ASI protection with board and fencings. But my stay at Dharmasala as CTA staff for nearly 10 years had missed it until I read an article in 2012 here in Canada.
To find its location is bit tricky. It is not on the main Khanyara road. It is via lower TCV to east about 30 minute drive. There is a hotel of some sort which locally, Tibetans, call “Essero Swimming Pool” on Khanyara road. Do not pass this “Essoro”. There is a small Car wash Shop next to a aqueduct. From here, walk on foot down the hill in paddy field about 10 minutes. There is a narrow trail path with small streams running along. Beautiful view of Dhaladhar mountain range with snow cap comes in view if you look back. Walking down this paddy field about 400 meters, there is first ASI board, blue color, with all the warnings and protection. Still walk the same trail path further down about 100 meter as the ASI Board says, you will see the second ASI Board and monument within iron fencings.
Standing Buddha(headless) and Stupa remains: Chetru, Gagal
Stupa: A mound with few bricks exposed(32° 9'33.53"N 76°17'17.15"E)
Chetru, on the way to Gagal airport from Dharamsala, has revealed few Buddhist remains- A stupa and Standing Buddha. It was discovered in 1904-06; Archaelogical Survey, Punjab and United Province(Northern Circle) for 1904-05(page 491).
Today, Chetru has a beautiful park and a mound that has exposed archeological bricks. This mound was a Stupa once. A life size, standing stone image of the Buddha was discovered too from the vicinity. Local Indians call this mound “Bhim Tila”. Garden or the park is called “Draupadi ka Bagh”.
Later I learned that many Tibetans visit this place for Picnic spot and ignored the ASI board.
relics found from LhaGayRi
Standing Buddha(headless)( 32° 9'34.87"N 76°17'21.32"E)
I had a hard time locating the life size standing Buddha and made some enquiry with the locals. A local told me that there is a Devi within the PWD compound(2017AD) which is worshiped by local as Draupadi on the opposite side(where above Stupa or mound was found) of the road.
Draupadi was wife of 5-brothers in MahaBharat story. So my hope of finding a male Buddha was lost but I pushed myself to see and photograph this Devi, anyhow, since I am that far from Dharamsala. I took a picture of the Devi which was fully clothed. How am I suppose to know whether it is the headless standing Buddha or not?
I returned to my room. Not happy about what I did not see- a standing Buddha.
The next day, I had a plan. Somehow I had to remove those cloths on the statue. Indian are very passionate about their ways about statue and I must be careful without offending them. I saw movies where Hindu’s cleanse their deity with milk. So I went back to Chetru with milk, Khata and incense. I took all the clothes off the statue and, yes, there is a standing Buddha without his right arm and head. Locals have put back some kind of head that is not very identifiable.
I was delighted and took above photos. Poured milk and put back cloths and Khata.
Now it is upto Tibetans, Buddhist, to make these findings into a worthwhile monument or just leave it as is, once again, to some travelers to make few notes.
Only time will tell.
Amravati: Birth place of Tibetan Tantra- Kalachakra (16°34'32.02"N, 80°21'23.37"E)
Amravati is the new capital of Andra Pradesh(2017). It is the birth place of Kalachakra. It is told that when Sakyamuni Buddha taught “heart Sutra” or “perfection wisdom” at Rajgir, Bihar, he simultaneously taught Kalachakra at Amravati.
Nagarjuna: the father of Madhyamika school
He wrote the ground breaking book titled “root wisdom”. It is the core text for “middle-way” school. He belongs to a kingdom or clan of “Serpent worshiper”, hence the name- Nag or Naga.
Nagarjuna Konda: Nagarjuna Hill, it was submerged and now an island
It was first discovered in 1926 by Suraparaju Venkataramaih, a local teacher and he reported to Madras government. Excavations were carried out from 1927-1931 under Shri Saravasti and in 1938 by Ramachandran. Team of scholars under Dr. Subrahmanyam surveyed from 1954-60.
Buddha’s tooth relic was discovered from here at MahaChitya and also inscription found says “Samma-Sambudhas dhatuvara-parighitasa” which means Dhatu or body relic of the Buddha….ref: page 5; Nagarjunakonda: a cultural study by K. Krishan Murthy.
Island has no Buddhist ruins except those which were transported here on the top from bottom of the hill before it was submerged. All the ruins were submerged in the water!
In 1955 Madras King build a Dam, Nagarjuna Sagar, across the Krishan River which submerged completely an ancient Buddhist settlement. Under Prime Minister Nehru they dug up the monuments and moved them to NagarjunaKonda, now an island in the middle of a huge reservoir. A boat ride from VijayPuri or VP south, takes 1 hour to get to the island.
Nagarjuna lived here who shared a common life-force with his king. They (king and Nagarjuna) lived for about 500 years. One day, Kings son, out of greed, went out to seek Nagarjuna and ask his head so his father would die and he could rule. Nagarjuna obliged without hesitation. King’s son beheaded Nagarjuna with a blade of grass for no weapons will severe his head. Nagarjuna and king both died immediately. That is the story how Nagarjuna died.
I took train on Feb 26 from Delhi to Vijayawada, AP, and arrived there at about 12noon. I took a Rickshow to Amravati for Rs. 800. Taxi cost about 1200.
Note: in AP hotels are 24hour check out; confirm it yourself before you check-in.
At Amravati, Sunrise Residency, cost 800 Rupee, regular room; Amravati has two museum- old and new. Old museum is where Great Stupa once stood. Today, it is maintained by a retired Indian-Australian. Entry is Rs. 30 for locals and Tibetans. Next to it, to the right is the new museum where old relics are kept and a replica of the original Stupa too. Entry cost Rs 30.
There is a huge newly built Buddha Statue. Entry is by tickets(Rs. 50; I think)
NagarJuna Island or Konda (16°31'21.42"N, 79°14'31.40"E)
I went from Amravati, Guntur District, AP, to Nagarjuna Sagar or Konda(right bank, VP, South, on Feb 27, early morning. AndraPradesh is divided into two states- AP and Talangana; Talangana State has the old capital Hyddrabad and AP is now making Amravati its Capital. Nagarjuna Konda or island is where ancient philosopher Nagarjuna lived; Nehru built a Dam and transported all the relics on this island. However reaching this place from Amravati is not easy. I travelled by local bus from Amravati to Satanpali(1 hour; rupees 23 fare); From Satanpali to Macharli (2 hours, 96 rupees). Macherli to Right Bank, south VP. It is from where the boat ride begins. It is also called “launch”.
There is a Nagarjuna Resort (room cost 800 rupees). It is just across the “launch”. Boat begins its service at 9:30am till 1:30 pm. It takes about 1 hour to get to the island. Boat waits for an hour which means you have only 1 hour to tour the whole island which is not sufficient without a guide.
There are about 6 or 7 different sites to visit which are at quite a distance far apart; Stupa, cave, stone walled well, Standing Buddha, two small stupas. It is impossible to cover these in 1 hour without a guide. Island is huge and relics are all over the place. There is a museum too.
You buy boat fare (120 rupee) and museum and monuments tickets before getting onto the boat. Tickets for local and Tibetan is Rs 10 each- foreigners 100; video filming is charged and camera is free.
Back to Vijayawada, AP (16°31'15.08"N, 80°37'29.97"E)
After visiting Nagarjuna Konda(Island), and reaching back to the right bank, VP south, I took an auto to Macherli for 200 rupees. From Macherli you get bus to Vijayawada railway station. At Vijayawada Bus terminal there is Balaji Hotel where veg thali is served; it is just 80 rupees with 7 different dishes. Just next to or across the road there is a hotel with stinking smell where I stayed for a night with AC for 1400 or could have stayed in non-AC for 400 rupee only. At Arrival bus terminal, Vijayawada, there is a dorm facility with AC for 120 rupees per bed per night; cloak room for 24 hours service is free. Very clean bus terminal and Balaji Hotel is exceptionally clean. Hotel service begins at 7am. Local bus top is also just few steps away. Hotel where I stayed is 24 hour check out.
Generally speaking, south India is much cleaner and people are more cultured.
Sanchi: First discovered in 1818ad: Sariputra and Moggallana relics were found here.
From Vijayawada I left for Sanchi on 1st march by train-Andaman Express/Jamutabi Express 16031 at 2:50pm and reached Sanchi at 11AM next day.
Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India, is a small village. It is located 46 km north east of Bhopal. GE location coordinate is (23°28'49.05"N,77°44'19.88"E). Several Stupas and Monastery foundations were found near Satdhara, also, which is 9km west of Sanchi which I missed this time. GE location coordinate of Satdhara is ( 23°29'12.51"N 77°39'5.69"E). It was discovered by General Taylor in 1818. Stupa has four gateways, Toranas, with ornate design and shape. Such gateway designs are found in Japan. They call it Tors. Asoka’s mother was here and her son Mahendra too.
Stupa 1 or the largest one has 4 gateways. It is 16.46m high and base diameter is 36.60m. It was built in 1st century BC.
Stupa 3 is also built around 150bc and found relics of Sariputra and Mudgalyayana-the two principle disciples of Lord Buddha. They are the main disciples of the Buddha. These relics were taken to Great Britain and later returned to India. Relics are on exhibition on “last Sunday of November” at the Chethiyagir Vihara festival or Buddhist festival at Sanchi.
It has only one gateway.
There are upwards of 85 monasteries found here.
Stupas are just 20 minute walk from the railway station. It is straight road but stupa is on a hill top- small climb. By auto it cost Rs 50, one way. There is a modern built Sri Lanka temple which is closed for lunch at 12 noon. Stupa is next to it. There are about 3 standing stupas and many ruins.
It cost Rs 30 entry fee for all the sites including monuments, museum and some other tourist sites. Foreigners pay Rs 500. Video filming cost extra 25. Camera photography is FREE. Photography is allowed inside museum without the flashlight. Ticket office is on the way to the Stupa before the climb begins or just next to the museum.
There is a tourist resort/Dharamsala not far from the railway station- left side if you are walking up to the Stupa. For AC room it cost 2100. Groups can stay in a dorm for Rs 200 person.
Tourist Hotel by AP government has hygienic food for veg but bit pricy.
At about 4pm there is an Amritsar Express train that leaves Sanchi but train ticket sold at Sanchi counter is for General Compartment(Rs 185) because Sanchi is NOT linked by internet. My advice is if you have ticket agents who can buy you tickets from Delhi or some other place and send you ticket photo via cell phone, it is much easier option. I, on the other hand, did not use my travel agent and naïvely bought the General ticket and jumped in 2 tier AC Sleeper. I saw few berths vacant but TTE/TC(ticket Collector) would not sell me ticket, which is common for additional fees. Instead he asked me to go to 2nd class 3 tier Sleeper class or will call police. 3 tier sleeper TC instead of offering me a berth, fined me Rs. 250 and charged me 150 more to stay wherever I find space include floor next to the toilet.
After travelling 4 hours, smelling the toilet, I managed to get 2 tier AC berth at the same compartment from where I was asked to leave earlier from a different TC with yet another extra Rs. 570. I reached new Delhi railway station at 5am. From New Delhi railway station i paid Rs 200 for an auto to get me to MajnukaTilak.
I stayed at Phayul Guest house for Rs 700 without AC. Although I made a room reservation in Tibet Tours and Travels(TTT), MT, before I left to Amravati, 8 days earlier, to my agony room-boy who keeps the keys told me that there is no empty rooms for me. My persuasion fell on flat ear. Later the owner of the TTT told me that they had kept a room reserved for me but the room-boy was drunk and messed up. Anyway, Phayul Guest house saved my day.
Exit Permit: Tourist Visa cannot be extended, the new rule(2017).
My visa to India expires before my return ticket. I thought, I can manage to extend my Visa by 10 days. No. First, tourist Visa is not extendable, I learned it the hard way. Second, FRO(Foreigner Registration Office), can give you an Exit permit which means it (Stamp) allows you to exit India without legal hassle but chance is that Indian government may not give you Visa next time.
Procedure to procure Exit permit is also not straight forward. You have to fill up an on-line application for an appointment with the officer not sooner than one week before Visa expires. That leaves you with not much days to work around with departure or fresh return air ticket. I bought my return air ticket within 12 hours. I was lucky, very lucky to manage at that.
Instead of coming directly to Toronto which cost about 90,000 indian Rupees, I bought ticket to New York which cost me only 40,000. From there I took MegaBus to Toronto for 70 US dollars!
There are Tibetans who will promise you Exit permit for a hefty price (Rs 30,000).
Airport Metro Train
From Majnutila, Delhi, I took an Auto(Rs. 30) to Vidhan Sabha, from where I can catch a Delhi Metro or subway. From VidhanSabha metro station to New Delhi Metro station cost Rs 15 and it takes about 30 minutes. From New Delhi Metro Station there is a special Metro Train that goes to International Airport directly. You can check-in your luggage (8 hours before your flight) if you arrive at this metro station before 9pm. After 9pm luggage check-in is closed yet you can ride the train to IGI airport T3 for only Rs. 60 and it takes less than 20 minutes to get there. Train arrives every 10-15 minutes.
For less than 100/ rupees, I am at the airport in less than 30 minutes. That is a miracle in India.
Tibetans living in India: Are they rich or poor?
Every third Tibetan has a motor bike and every 20th has a car. That is my observation.
Commercial Banks in India are eager to loan money to Tibetans for motor bike or Car. Wish I could say the same for house too. Unlike US and Canada where anyone can buy land or house, Indian government bars Tibetans from buying house. Indian government thinks that Tibetans will run away with land and house in their pocket.
འདས་དུས་སྔོན་གྱིས་སངས་རྒྱས་བྱེ་བ་ཁྲག་ཁྲིག་གང་། ཞིང་མཐའ་ཡས་བྱེ་སྟོང་དག་ན་གང་བཞུགས་དང་། གང་ཡང་མྱ་ངན་འདས་པའི་འཇིག་རྟེན་མགོན་པོ་རྣམས། སྡུག་བསྔལ་ཟད་པར་བྱ་ཕྱིར་རིན་ཆེན་ཆོས་སྟོན་པ། དང་པོར་བྱང་ཆུབ་མཆོག་ཏུ་སེམས་བསྐྱེད་བསྐྱེད་པ་ནས། རྣམ་པར་འདྲེན་པ་རྣམས་ཀྱི་དམ་ཆོས་ཟད་ཀྱི་དུས། དེ་བར་རྒྱལ་བ་དེ་དག་བསོད་ནམས་གང་ཡིན་པ། ཕ་རོལ་ཕྱིན་དང་ལྡན་དང་སངས་རྒྱས་ཆོས་གང་དང་། གང་ཡང་སངས་རྒྱས་སྲས་དང་ནི་ཉན་ཐོས་དང་། སློབ་དང་མི་སློབ་དགེ་བ་ཟག་བཅས་ཟག་མེད་པ། བསྡུས་ནས་བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔའ་རྗེས་སུ་ཡི་རང་ཞིང་། འགྲོ་བའོ་དོན་རྒྱུ་བྱང་ཆུབ་ཕྱིར་ནི་ཐམས་ཅད་བསྔོ།