The Tibetan refugee colony in Delhi is now fast turning into one of the most sought after destinations for tourists from all the world. Popularly known as Majnu-ka-Tilla in Delhi offers all sorts of services such as guest houses, cafes, restaurants and shops with a deep touch of traditional Tibetan culture is now featured in the Lonely Planet, the largest travel publisher in the world.
A recent article by Manoj Sharma in the Hindustan Times shares a detail view of the transition that have come up in the Tibetan refugee colony today. Established in 1963, the Tibetan colony officially known as the New Aruna Nagar with around 4000 refugees is now an exotic world according to Mr. Sharma. He writes that Paharganj is now old news and the Tibetan colony is the new hub!
“The Tibetan refugee colony in north Delhi, which from the outside looks like a messy jumble of multi-storied buildings with prayer flags fluttering over rooftops, has emerged as hot spot on the city’s tourism map, attracting tourists looking for a dose of Karma Cola from all over the world. Steeped in Tibetan culture, the colony, officially known as New Aruna Nagar, boasts of new trendy cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops and guest houses, which now feature on Lonely Planet.” writes Manoj Sharma in such amazement of the richness of the Tibetan colony today.
It wasn’t the same story just a decade ago! The Tibetan colony though cramped on a small area of land with a much smaller size of population residing there as their homes as compared to other larger Tibetan refugee colonies, the location has always had a significant role of as junction to all Tibetans. It connected Dharamshala, headquarter of the Tibetan exile to the rest of the world. Every Tibetan passes through Majnu Ka Tilla at every point of their journey to India and now it is beginning to be the same reason to many other tourists too.
From being a regular Tibetan colony, it is today a destination where spirituality and commerce go hand in hand which you can not find anywhere else in the world. The trendy shops selling most recent fashionable shoes and cloths will be accompanied by shops selling Tibetan handicrafts which you can not find anywhere else, while there will be restaurants serving continental dishes, you will also find cafes designed in traditional Tibetan houses selling Tsampa, Tibetan butter teas along with cappuccinos!
Most prominent cafes, restaurants and shops how features in the Lonely Planet which describes them as tranquil place to relax. It also features prominent Tibetan guest houses in Majnu Ka Tilla which even allows you to make a booking through their website. With a typical Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the heart of the colony adds to the spirituality of the area.