Today was the first day of Losar, I wore a black chuba with a white shirt. Tenzin, her uncle, and I left at 6:40 a.m. to head to the main temple. When we got there Masood Butt showed us upstairs to where all the media people were. When we got up there the monks were doing a prayer. Symbols, drums, little trumpets and these huge horns were being used in the prayer session as well.
The monks also wore these funky hats, I thought that they were pretty cool looking myself. After the prayer was done, which was about 8:30 a.m. Everyone moved inside to the main temple. The media was pushed into an area about 6′ x 18′. It was so tiny for 30 some odd people. There the monks started a long life prayer where some of the instruments being used were these conch shells. During the rest of the prayer Tenzin and I went around and took shots of the people. There was this one little kid who I took a picture of and then I showed it to him, so then I took a couple more pictures of him and the other kids he was with. Then we saw the dancers go in, so we hurried back to our spots. They were a group of young boys, in traditional dress, wearing wigs with long hair and they had a long earring in one ear. It was cool to watch, they stomped their feet and the bells on their ankles rang. When they were done there was a debate session between the monks.
After that everyone got up and made a mad dash for this one ladder going upstairs. People were pushing each other left and right. It was actually quite amusing to watch. We waited a while, and then eventually we went upstairs. Tenzin said this was all in order to receive a blessing. The line up there was extremely long and moved rather quickly. When it was our tun to go inside we layed down these silk white scarfs in front of the Dalai Lama’s seat. People bowed their heads to different deities, others gave money as well. It was interesting, actually the Dalai Lama, couldn’t make it this year, which is kind of sad. Well we went and returned back to the Inn, I took a nap and then we sat outside for a while. It was really warm and sunny out. Later that night, we set off some fireworks with Pema and Kunga, the two kids from before. We couldn’t light all of them because we ran out of matches. We also learned that all the performances are on Monday, so we have to wait to see them. Well that’s all for now.
Looking back the silk white scarf is a Khata. I also should have described the hats the monks wore, better than ‘funky hats.’ More descriptive language such as the monks wore yellow hats with fringe on top, they are part of the yellow hat school (Gelugpa) of Buddhism. And the Dalai Lama wasn’t present during that Losar, because I believe he had a cold. My entry seems so calm writing that even though we had hoped to see him while we were in Dharamsala. In fact, I have told that story to a few people since we went there and they all laugh at the fact we didn’t even get to see him in person.
I wish I had detailed the process more in my journal and pictures.