Majnu Ka Tila: Delhi’s Own ‘Mini Tibet’

Welcome to a peaceful refuge, a Buddhist monastic community, in the heart of the national capital region.

Seen on the streets of Majnu ka Tila. Photo: Falguni Choudhary

Majnu ka Tila is a home for vagabond souls of sorts; a hybrid of Bohemian, Tibetan and Korean cultural artefacts. At dawn, the napalm skies over the narrow lanes are transcendental.

A few kilometres away from Delhi University’s North Campus, you can find this hidden gem – India’s own ‘mini Tibet’. When I first stepped in, it felt like I had been teleported to another land. The music, the aroma, the people – the entire landscape changes as soon as you enter the colony.

The bridge to reach the Delhi’s very own mini-Tibet. Photo: Falguni Choudhary

Majnu ka Tila has been a panacea to refugees for decades.The streets are flooded with monks – you can find them at local bookstore or enjoying a delicious Tsampa (barley) shake at the very famous Ama Cafe.

Interiors of Ama café. Photo: Falguni Choudhary

You can also find grandmothers selling spices for home-made traditional recipes with big smiles on their faces, holding beautiful paper fans with a cherry blossom print.

The colony, though finite in space, is full of visual aesthetics in every nook and corner.

Old locks and other traditional objects. Photo: Falguni Choudhary

Moving further into the labyrinth of narrow lanes, you’ll find the sacred Buddhist temple. The temple is open to all, always lit-up with diyas with the fragrant aroma of incense sticks wafting about – a meditative space of harmonic oscillations between creative action and introspection.

A few turns deeper, and you will stumble upon a chain of quirky, quaint cafes serving authentic Korean and Tibetan delicacies, and local karaoke booths.

Wonton soup and Thukpa. Photo: Falguni Choudhary

Gimbap, a korean delicacy. Photo: Falguni Choudhary

The locals take great pride in their culture and heritage and try to inculcate it in the young generation.

A fakir wondering and exploring the colony. Photo: Falguni Choudhary.

The narrow streets encompass the journey of life through the transcendental medium of art, where graffiti on the walls reflect the clandestine commerce of words left unsaid, encouraging the traveller to discover the world within.

Falguni Choudhary is currently pursuing MA in English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College for Women. Apart from the daily grind, she takes photo walks to old cities and historic places to capture fragments of narratives for her photo blog.