TUTC Blessed By The Dalai Lama
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – His Holiness The Dalai Lama
We’ve all had at least one completely amazing, “I can’t believe this is happening” moment in our lives. For Ladakh, it was the announcement that The Dalai Lama would conduct the 4th Yarchos Chemo (Summer Buddhist Council) on its lands. And for us, it was the moment when The Dalai Lama blessed Chamba Camp, Thiksey, with his presence.
The locals went out of their way to welcome his Holiness to the mystic Land of Lamas. Houses were rebuilt, streets were cleaned and monasteries repainted as Ladakh counted down the days to his arrival.
Unknown to the world, TUTC had a countdown of its own. Impressed by the camp’s contribution to Thiksey village, the Dalai Lama decided to grace us with his presence on August 12th, 2016. Apart from The Dalai Lama, we were also excited to host the Rinpoche of Thiksey Monastery and the Dalai Lama’s sister, Jetsun Pema, for a scrumptious lunch.
What Impressed The Most Important Monk Of The Gelug-pa Sect?
Since its establishment, TUTC has slowly but steadily worked towards spreading happiness by capitalising on the Buddha’s teachings. Not only do we employ local guides to ensure our nomadic super luxury camp functions without a glitch, we also employ the village women to tend our organic farm and gardens.
Our organic farm produces the freshest vegetables, which are then used to create mouth-watering dishes for our guests. In addition to the farm, the local women also take care of the flower gardens at and around the camp. Believe it or not, their hard work and the efforts of our horticulturist has turned Chamba Camp, Thiksey, into a beautiful mountain oasis, with more than 40 varieties of flowers. When in bloom, these amazing flowers reflect the joy on the local women’s faces as the extra income helps them finance some of their most basic needs.
But the winters are when we actually make their life easier. The bitter cold weather during the months from November to February makes access to fresh vegetables extremely difficult, which results in a major price hike. However, we ensure that the local women employed at the camp never run out of fresh supplies. This is made possible thanks to our greenhouse in Ladakh, which is used to preserve flowers and vegetables during the off-season. The local women who tend to them take back home half of the produce, while the rest is sent to the Thiksey monastery.
They say no one knows a place better than the people who live there. We’ve used this to turn the locals into storytellers at our camps. Our local guides share interesting snippets about Ladakh, uncover little known cultural traditions, offer insight into Buddhism, and give a taste of everything Ladakhi. It’s a win-win for everyone; not only do the guides earn their daily bread and butter but our guests get a first-hand Ladakhi experience too! Our camp has catapulted Thiksey onto the global map, attracting tourists from all over the world to this beautiful village.
Coupled with the picturesque setting of Thiksey, the tented luxury of our camps, has earned us accolades from all our guests and some of the world’s best critics and judges. However, the highest honour was when The Dalai Lama recognised our efforts with his blessing. Here’s what he had to say about Chamba Camp, Thiksey.
Translation: “With my greetings and prayers for the proprietors, your family members, staffers and all other concerned people who are involved in running your business at Chamba Camp, which is situated in a very beautiful place and ideal environment, for your constant well-being and success – HH Dalai Lama”
Our Favourite Moments From His Holiness The Dalai Lama’s Visit
The Dalai Lama loves us, the critics love us, you know you do too!
Published on: Aug 18, 2016
Words by Sarah Merchant
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