India was my second time to go. This is why I already had an image of “India” in my mind, however, I have to say it was definitely something else that I witnessed here in Bodhgaya.
What I saw was the Buddhist pilgrims from around the world including Tibet. When I was taking photos at Mahabodhi Temple, the magnificent Unesco World Heritage where Buddha achieved enlightenment, one friendly middle-aged monk came into my camera lens and smiled at my camera. After taking his photo, I introduced myself and asked, “I am Japanese, and you are?” He answered “Tibetan!” with friendly smile. After he left, for the first time of being in Bodhgaya, I understood that there are so many Tibetans for their pilgrimage in Bodhgaya. Wow, I never saw Tibetan personally in my life. I started being very curious about the people. If you look closely you can tell Tibetan by what they are wearing. Tibetan monks wear a certain kind of clothes which can be differentiated from the other countries’ monks’. Women dress up in a traditional clothing. The face is very similar to some of Japanese people but the skin is tanned and dry.
Another trigger that made me started liking Tibet was a cafe called “Tibet OM Cafe” near Mahabodhi Temple.
It was on the base floor of the long three stories apartment building. It’s ran by Tibetan family and I just loved the warm atmosphere of the cafe so much.
The strong desire to go to Tibet popped in my mind but soon I needed to give up. Apparently it is difficult to get in to the area from India side due to the political instability today and if I try, yes, I could enter but cost more than it should have been if I planned neatly and way ahead of time. 😦
The lady at the cafe also told me that it is difficult to enter even for a foreigner. You might need to delete anything related to a word of “Tibet” mainly from your SNS, blogs and what the officers can search about you in advance of applying the visa. It is not this lady but another Tibetan person described Tibet as a prison because the Tibetan people have to report to an office every time they go out.
I might need to delete this article if I apply to the visa, but I guess I don’t have to now that I gave up going there. However, I hope to go there someday to see the warm people who like to pray for peace.
It was “Tibet” that I met in Bodhgaya, India.