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Delhiwale: Bridge to Lhasa

A foot overbridge across the Ring Road gives a glimpse into life in Majnu Ka Teela — Delhi’s Tibetan enclave

delhi Updated: Feb 12, 2018 11:57 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Delhiwale,Dilliwale,Majnu Ka Teela
The foot overbridge on Outer Ring Road that leads to Majnu Ka Teela.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

Consider this singular foot overbridge on Outer Ring Road. With prayer flags fluttering on it like butterflies, it’s so easy to see that it is so very Tibetan. And leads directly to Majnu Ka Teela, Delhi’s Tibetan enclave since 1963.

This bridge can feel like a crowded bylane in Lhasa. In mid-afternoon we encounter scores of robed Buddhist lamas slowly ambling about — some of them seeming utterly disconnected from their immediate world. Some others are extremely connected, we even spot a child lama snapping cellphone images of the traffic below.

The bridge got a plastic roof recently, protecting pedestrians from the elements and offering the cozy intimacy of a tunnel. We move along, spotting a fortune-teller and some beggars, and vegetable vendors selling stuff one seldom sees. There is Pok choy and Chinese cabbage and something called raisa.

As we amble towards the other side, we come across a banner promoting a courier service in Tibetan and English.

Finally stepping off the bridge, we look up once last time. From a distance it’s as ordinary as any foot overbridge in the capital.

Appearances can be so deceptive.

First Published: Feb 12, 2018 10:47 IST