Off track and off the radar but definitely worth a visit!
Majnu ka tilla – A very odd name for a place! That was my first reaction when I heard about this place. It evoked a different kind of feeling and imagination in my mind. The name Majnu is generally associated with the lover of the Laila Majnu fame. So, I kind of googled around to see how the name came to be associated with this place.
I got to find out that this name came from an Iranian Sufi bhakt who used to stay at this mound near the Yamuna river. He was called Majnu because of his intense love for God. He was a seeker and wanted to find the true meaning of God. In that quest, he met with Guru Nanak at this bank. Guru Nanak also stayed at this place for a few months. He was very fond of this Sufi sant and this place came to be called as Majnu Ka Tilla from that time onwards. A Gurudwara was later constructed to commemorate Guru Nanak s visit.
However, what this place is famous for today is neither the Sufi Sant or the Gurudwara but a small settlement of Tibetan community from 1960s. There are some monasteries and a thriving market that belongs to this community.
The place is small and the lanes narrow, but it has a feel of Tibet when you walk into those alleys. There are shops selling Tibetan handicrafts, paintings, books, jewellery items, beads for prayer, clothes and fabrics that is very very Tibetan in nature and form. It is a little Tibet in all its colours and art forms.
Eating joints of all kinds – street food to restaurants serving authentic Tibetan food is available and you can have your pick. Sha Phaley, Momos and all the other varieties that you might want to try is available at these junctions and joints.
We could also see a lot of monks wandering around, some visiting the monastery here and others who are probably staying in these.
Tibetan Prayer Wheels with mantras written on it was visible around the monastery area.