Dharamsala | McLeod Ganj | Dolanji

Dharamsala– The first stop. Staying close to the market. Monastery is a walk up the mountain. Their office opens at 10am and its 9am now. While deciding to wait or return later, I am having chai and talking to a few monks – at a cafe, opposite the monastery. Soon at art professor is introducing me to a few monk kids at his class. During tea beak, some monk kids are asking their curious questions about my life & Mumbai.  Occasionally acquainting me with their monastery and monastic life.

McLeod Ganj– Before visiting Tibetan Children’s Village: I am walking around McLeod Ganj, visiting the temple and watching monk kids debate! At Tibetan Children’s Village, the lunch break began about 15 minutes ago. The kids have already finished their lunch and are playing. They seem to be in their own world. The break is over and the kids have returned to their classrooms.

I am going to walk around McLeod Ganj. Instead I am walking to Dharamsala. Through a short cut (a secret path known only to  locals). And passing a small group of people praying in the middle of mountains!

Dolanji-My days in Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj are over. By Bus, I am on my way to Dolanji. From Dharamsala to Chandigarh to Solan. Solan to Dolanji, by cab. Heavy rains are welcoming me and continue for three days. I am confined to the guesthouse. The camera is still inside my bag.

Late afternoon, on fourth day, my last day- the rains stop. Ground is dry. Sky is clearer. Monk kids are playing!

While the sun is setting, the monk kids are returning to their living quarters. The clouds are back. Its raining again. Hiding my camera I am running to the guesthouse. Tomorrow, I will be in Mumbai.


  1. Belsim

    Incredible! Any word will be a profane thought for this dimension …

  2. Amazing pictures! The kids are so cute!

  3. Photo Media

    Beautiful images …

  4. Amaizing!!!! look at life from different angles, beautiful photo!!!!

  5. Oh these are lovely! Kids are just so wonderful on pictures. Now I’m jealous. Must travel more!

  6. ttronan

    lovely pics.

  7. Excellent Work! You have captured everything about Dharamsala so beautifully.

  8. WOW!!!! What a great subject!! Such beautiful moments!! So much innocence and joy!!! And to think I live in India and haven’t been there yet!!! Next stop…. :)

  9. McLeod Ganj remains one of my favorite towns in India. LOVE the pictures! They really capture the essence of the kids there. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  10. missvaleriem

    What an eye!
    Some of the black and white photos reminded me of the pictures in the beginning of Zombie clip by the Cranberries.

  11. pencil with oil

    i love your photos!

  12. Beautiful photographs of special souls. Thank you for sharing.

  13. ayelet

    I visited Dharamsala 20 years ago, it’s still amazing. Your photos are beautiful, thanks for bringing good memories.

  14. I had logged out of WP, but when I saw your photos I had to come back to leave a comment. Wondrous, they are woundrous! Kids are kids, no matter where they are or how they’re dressed. You’ve caught them so well.

  15. lissiesyoga

    Reblogged this on Lissie Aguirre and commented:
    fotos increibles de Dharamsala… tanto amor que se ve en la cara de los niños!!!

  16. Amazing. Thank you for posting!

  17. Very nice photo dokumentation, especially the photo with the nine boys.
    Best regards Rick

  18. Blood-Ink-Diary

    Stunning photo-essay! Very well captured and brings depth to the heart. Bestw wishes in your journey. Cheers.

  19. They all look so happy! :) Great shots.

  20. Those are some of the happiest children I have ever seen – that is so amazing! Great pictures.

  21. Thank you for making such a beautiful record of your visit. You have taken some excellent photographs.

  22. Vibrant and playful – thank you!

  23. Amazing journey and great captures !

  24. You’ve capture some beautiful smiles. Thanks for brightening my day. :)

  25. etexbill

    Beautiful photos. Seeing those smiling young monks made me feel happy too.

  26. A wonderful part of the world. I have been to Dharamsala innumerable times, and cannot wait to return. So vividly captured…

  27. Which Camera did you use?

  28. Beautiful photography, you captured so well the innocence of these kids. It makes me wanting to go there with my camera as well. Thank you for sharing your inspirations. Namaste

  29. these are incredible, thanks for sharing

  30. Gorgeous. The colours are so warm and inviting but the smiling faces are just a world of love and joy. Thank you so much for sharing. That made my day :)

  31. Fantastic photos. The photos do a wonderful job showing the children in play. Not any different from any other part of the world.

  32. Very lively pictures of Tibetan Samaneras and children! Just loved it :D

  33. OK…I seriously want to pinch those adorable cheeks. AWESOME work! :)

  34. great work! very impressive indeed. i’ll be sharing this on my blog soon :)

  35. I am here in NY in awe… Indeed, out of this world.

  36. Gorgeous photos! I’m going to India in one week and this blog post got me even more excited to start planning trips to additional regions.

  37. nice images. thanks for sharing

  38. angulam

    a brilliant compendum of photos – awesome…

  39. Dipmalya Majumder

    Wow. Good Shots

  40. Kaleidoscopic!!! Amazing work…

  41. I have been to Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj, So I envy having missed out on taking secret passages :) You’ve captured some very pretty moments.

  42. Gloriously wondrous captures! Merci!

  43. RJ

    Love the smiles on black & white ones!

  44. Well done. Beautiful and well executed shots and very interesting insight into those children’s world.

  45. Reblogged this on Mufti Nur Ichrom and commented:
    wonderful story telling of little biksu by Ankus Aras…

  46. Amazing photography

  47. I have long way to go … maybe I will not get there in this life … I will now make many good wishes. Thank you for the motivation

  48. wooww!! beautiful pictures.. those kids look so happy.. :-)

  49. its really amazing…………… great

  50. Lovely, Enlightening and Peaceful.

    Love, light and Peace.

  51. The pictures are beautiful…! I visited McLeodgunj when I was little, these pictures totally refreshed my memories! I’m Indian and I’m so happy to see an Indian tourist spot on freshly pressed! Congrats for being freshly pressed :)

  52. Roshni

    There’s so much of happiness in your photos! Loved them! Congratulations on being FP! :)

  53. Photographing children is both exciting and challenging. I think that you’ve hit the bull’s eye on both fronts! The pictures are very expressive. The emotions of ‘childhood’ have been so beautifully portrayed!

  54. Very nice series of photos! You did an extremely good job of capturing the emotions on their faces :D

    So cute!!! :D

  55. beautiful pic’s like it very much….

  56. I love how clear the pictures have turned out, and how vibrant the colours are. You’ve captured the children’s personality beautifully in the pictures

  57. Fantastic pictures just lovely character shots!

  58. Awesome pictures! So cute!

  59. I love the black and white one of the kids sitting all in a row! Wonderful trip and all the images you got from it!

  60. Wow.. Im stunned by these pictures.. They radiate so much innocence, joy and other wonderful things. Great work!

  61. myfullresearch

    Reblogged this on my full research.

  62. Amazing photo! I interest to child learn religi (bikhu)…I like your blog. Thank You.

  63. Wow. thanks for the wonderful pictures.

  64. That’s called the charm of nature. I loved all the portraits.

  65. Awesome photography, I am planning a trip to Dharamsala next month!

  66. Your pictures radiate lots of positive energy. Kept me smiling all the way. Congratulations for the wonderful shots and for getting Freshly Pressed.

  67. So beautiful! I don’t how to explain but I felt really touched when I saw photos of these kids. Despite their tattered clothes and their old dirty shoes, they’re so happy and enjoying their lives.

  68. Is this where people put major concern about Gross National Happiness? Or am I talking about Bhutan..

  69. I enjoy how your pictures tell the entire store and the minimal words just hang on them.

  70. Reblogged this on Make Something Every Day and commented:
    For Jackie M…

  71. Reblogged this on Make Something Every Day and commented:
    For Jackie M…

  72. Joe Labriola

    Wow, nothing like what my grade school looked like growing up haha

  73. how incredible the shots are capturing smiles on those pupils, the monuments, the mountains, the engery. I’m receiving a lot of Inspiration through this….

  74. The photos , they just sing to you .Some heartwarming innocence in the face of a child !!

  75. Dear Everyone,

    Thank you.

  76. Pictures of children are innocent. All pictures are nice,the black one and the coloured one.

  77. Fascinating. I love people-watching, but you do it right.

  78. what wonderful photos. Children are such a joy. Blessings Dr. Sherry

  79. Innocence and happiness personified… Great work… :)
    My home is 4 hours drive from this beautiful place… Have been planing to visit Dharamshala from so long.. You made me realize it is time :)….

  80. ttronan

    Reblogged this on seedsofcompassion and commented:
    beautifully captured pics of children and monks with so much positivity and energy in mcleodganj, dharamsala.

  81. My favorite photo is of the little boy standing in the doorway. I love seeing schools around the world!

    I look forward to visiting India in July.

  82. I love these photos! So charming.

  83. wooow this is amazing! Wonderful children and great eye of photographer… really like the way you presented the spirit, atmosphere! Great!
    I am also doing photography and I’m very new here. Would you like to be friends?


  84. photographer/fotograf göransson

    Love them all! Amazing!

  85. this post is really BEAUTIFUL. Congrats!

  86. oh my amazing sweetness–looove these pictures!

    namaste and many blessings***

  87. Your photos are beautiful, unique and they are all telling a story! I love your blog! :)

  88. beautiful pictures… monks in miniatures… tiny angels in robes..

  89. Sarah

    What beautiful children! I love the way they lean into each other like puppies, enjoying each others’ company and simply looking so happy. So refreshing! Thank you for the chance to see these.

  90. cute little ones :) beautiful shots!

  91. Love all the smiles and colors. Beautiful work!! I “pinned” one of your photos on pinterest! :)

  92. Love all the smiles and colors. Beautiful work! I “pinned” one of your images! :)

  93. Amazing photojournalism. You are gifted! How wonderful to be on this great journey!

  94. A world of peace … beautiful place, beautiful photographs.
    My personal blog contains photos of my world in Chile … unpretentious, I am not a professional photographer.

  95. Hello Everyone,

    Thank you very much.

  96. Rai

    Absolutely beautiful. I like your use of color. Also YAY FRESH PRESSED

  97. I have been to McLeodganj and Dharamshala both. But haven’t been able to capture such moments. Next time for sure. Loved all the snaps! :)

  98. Reblogged this on gauthamgautham and commented:
    I like this blog

  99. these are incredible. thank you!

  100. I have been there too. I remember the school. It was near the hotel I stayed.

  101. Azadeh Sobout

    Ankur, the soulful life testimonies of Monk kids, reflected through your eyes are stunningly beautiful!
    your creative expression, inspirational images and provoking writing has transformed my visions of spirituality into an awakening consciousness for peace.

  102. Enchanting photos of a unique way of life! . . . Beautiful children and hues of red!


  103. Pictures are worth a thousand words…these are beautiful!

  104. Fantastic beautiful photos! They bought back memories of seeing the younger monks playing on my visits to India and Bhutan. They may be monks or studying to become one, but they are still kids!

  105. Heart stirring images…so happy to have come across them. Soulful, beautiful, pure. You have a wonderful eye.

  106. beautiful pictures…

  107. Such Bright Happy faces… Heart warming photographs…

  108. This is beauty I love these fotoos 200%
    the colours The smiles on the kids faces My god..Ur fotoshoots are fantastic.
    Tx for sharing.
    MJ ( wish i could see this in real life)

  109. What adorable pictures!

  110. Wonderful! Thanks for the pics. :)

  111. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE these pictures!!

  112. Wonderful photograps, so much fun in those eyes!

    grz. Mark

  113. Now we know children are divine! Thanks Ankur!

  114. Reblogged this on Lady Philospher's Blog and commented:
    I love the baby ravens…. Kisses.

  115. Superb images capturing the vitality of the youngsters. The effectiveness of the pictures is enhanced by the delightful colour contrasts.

  116. Benjamin

    Beautiful pictures man! I was there just before christmas. Experience of a lifetime!

  117. Fantastic photographs,i like all the colourful pics.Its a great pleasure to see it.

  118. samskrithi

    Thank you ….so beautiful ! would love to live there !

  119. Lived in Dharamsala for two years in early sixties. Love that place.Thanks for beautiful pictures

  120. majjeanne

    Beautiful pictures – nicely captured

  121. Incredible photos… I love the photo of the child and the peace sign..

  122. Wonderful photos Ankur. I went there 10 years ago and your images have brought it all back to me. I wrote an article about the computer centre in Dharamsala for a computer magazine, and about one monk’s diet for The Vegetarian magazine. For the last few days I’ve been going through all the colour transparencies that I took then as I’m going to get them scanned on to DVD.

  123. Sandeep

    great pics!

    Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.(Rabindranath Tagore).

  124. Reblogged this on larevolutioninterieure and commented:
    Très belles photos réalisées en Inde dans la ville du Dalai-Lama

  125. I never tire of seeing happy, healthy kids. Thanks for sharing a beautiful part of the world.

  126. Congratulations on getting Freshly Pressed =) Very inspiring and truly enchanting.

  127. Great photos Ankur. Thanks for sharing.

  128. Those children are beautiful. It shows you that no matter where you go, kids will be kids. They’re the same all over the world.

  129. Great pictures! I love McLeod Ganj and Dharamsala :)

  130. toemailer

    We would love to post one of those pictures at toemail if you do not mind? http://toemail.wordpress.com

  131. nice pictures.
    thanks for sharing :)

  132. Kiera McTigue

    Love the vibrant colors and the sincere expression of life.

  133. JW

    takes me back to september 2011, three weeks of serenity, its such a beautiful place. Thanks for bringing back the memory. :-) Beautiful photos..

  134. Beautiful photographs. Beautiful children.
    Congratulations on “freshly pressed.”
    Greetings from north of the Arctic Circle.

  135. ogjazzcafe

    What a brilliant selection of photos. Joyous and uplifting. I will sleep well tonight. Thank you for sharing.

  136. Beaut children awe photography

  137. What a work of art! Just revisited my memories!

  138. I love McLeod! And it is a beautiful pictorial representation although I wish you had clicked some snaps of the indigenous population as well :)

  139. Beautiful photos and colors. I think you have successfully revealed a part of that children life.

  140. wow! your pictures reminded me of my days in TCV in those uniforms! sweet ,memories!

  141. Shinta Dharmayu

    my goodness, such beautiful pictures…. simply marvelous expressive faces… i’m about to cry!!

  142. Just loved the photos! Wonderful! I think McLeod Ganj should be my next stop :D. Congrats for being on Freshly Pressed!

  143. Reblogged this on ngurah agung peranian and commented:
    the big smile for the future

  144. just wonderful pictures, full of emotion and happiness!

  145. beautiful photos and the kids looks so happy!

  146. They seem like the happiest kids on Earth! May God Bless Them all!!

  147. Reblogged this on Moments in Pixels and commented:
    Amazing Clicks !

  148. Amazing Clicks ! ,,, Reblogged !

  149. they are so happy …………….

  150. Just adding to the chorus….Incredible! You don’t need words Ranadive.

  151. I live part time in Mcleod and you did a great job of encapsulating the welcoming and friendly spirit of the place, well done

  152. These pictures are so beautiful. Love all the smiling faces.

  153. Very impressive pictures. Great work!

  154. Oh WOW! I’ll be travelling overland through tibet to Dharemsala later this year, and after seeing these beautiful pictures, I cannot wait to get there.

  155. :-)

    Thank you, Everyone.

  156. these photos are incredible, I was in Dharamkot last year, and would love to go back to see the area in more detail. I’ll be following your blog closely, the photography is on a level where i’d like to take my own photography in the future. thanks Ankur. http://longtimespent.wordpress.com/

  157. Loved the pictures ……… so full of energy !

  158. I lived in Dharamsala / McLeod Ganj / Bhagsu for a few months and absolutely LOVED it. I’m not nearly the photographer you are, but I remember all of this so well. Thank you for all of the happy memories! :)

  159. Your pictures brought a smile to my face. The children’s characters jump out at you. Particularly like the handstand and headstand shot, and the slide, and the robe-pulling in line… Thanks

  160. Beautiful pictures !!!

  161. Beautiful pictures. Am reminded of my own trip to McLeodganj.

  162. What lovely pictures :) Visited Dharamsala a while back but it was one of those flying, brief visits trying to cram all the ‘touristy’ things into a few days. Clearly a revisit is needed.

  163. Stunning, stunning images. Leave me oddly, without words.

  164. free penny press

    This is the BEST FRESH PRESSED I have seen to date.. simply stunning photographs. Thank you for sharing this with us all!!

  165. shahujvaln

    Wow… Beautiful photography.. You captured monk’s smile too perfectly… I’m Lovin’ it..

    and Yah congrats for Freshly Pressed..

  166. TJ

    i love your photos. just genius. keep ’em coming.

  167. findingpeacetoday

    Thank you for sharing such wonderful photos.

  168. Mcleod ganj it is !!! Would visit it for sure now

  169. Just stumbled upon your post. What a wonderful end to my day!

  170. xartpunkartx

    stunning atmosphere in these pictures ! I’m just sittin’ here with a smile on my face….


  171. I was met with the same exuberant joy when I visited children very much like these in Nepal. They make my heart sing. Thank you!

  172. Your photos are wonderful, but they make my heart ach.
    I’ve always ever since I was a child to grow up like this.
    Maybe in another life. :)

  173. If there were such as thing as a bugundy confectionary soul sweet shop? This would be my way to tank up on joy. Each childs smile is like a gggling balloon or magical bird whichuplifts the heart. Thanks! Photography at itKs most enchanting.

  174. lijiujiu

    Beautifl pics. How cute the boys are, I like them.

  175. Dear Ankur
    Very beautifully captured emotions. So happy & pure.
    Thanks for this, it only inspires & motivates me more, to walk towards my dream.


  176. leïla

    Très belles photos!

  177. Those are great photos. Beautiful colors, beautiful emotions.

  178. Wow! Totally inspired…

  179. These are some excellent photographs. I can’t wait to go visit & see the richness of the colors in person.

  180. Awesome post! Very nostalgic for me; my sister and I backpacked parts of northern India last year and stayed in McLeod Ganj for a week. The little Buddhist monks remind me of Jedi Younglings. I hope you went hiking while you were there. I’ll never forget when I reached the summits of some of those Himalayas.

  181. So beautiful pictures! I found your interview on the blog http://larevolutioninterieure.wordpress.com/ and I was very touched, I think people like you really helps change the world

  182. Reblogged this on On The Road… and commented:
    Wonderul photography.

  183. This is simply amazing! It feels like I just visited Dharamsala, even though I personally haven’t been there. Thank you for posting this.

  184. Nima

    Beautiful pictures but all are not from Mcleodganj, monks photos are from famous Bon Monastery Dolanji near Solan in Himachal.

  185. Lovely! Enjoyed them very much!

  186. Jia Yang

    So cute!!!!

  187. Pingback: Dharamsala, India (My favorite place in India) | Andy's Travel Blog

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