I already understood before Mr. Tirtha told me that my next destination was Tashiling, A Tibetan refugee settlement in Pokhara. Nepal itself provided access to this migration because since ancient times, Tibet and Nepal have had close close relations in economy, diplomacy and culture. They have repeatedly signed various cooperation agreements in their history as two mutually sovereign nations.
Departing from International Mountain Museum, my taxi drove towards east and it was about 3.5 km in distance. This time Mr. Tirtha who changed to interrupt the trip, he stopped at a pharmacy to buy a some drugs. He steadfastly said that his father had a liver problem which required him to set aside his income from driving a taxi for his father’s treatment.
“Namaska“, he shouted at his friends on the street. He explained a little to me that Namaska was a greeting similar to “Namaste“.
Then, he emphasized that tourism was like a gold for his country. So many people in his age struggled to have a small car and fuctioned as a taxi. And English was the key for them to attract tourists …. “Sorry Mr Tirtha, if in Jakarta, I prefer to be a salesman with a commission” …..Hahaha, he broadly laughed.
15 minutes later, the taxi exited from Siddhartha Rajmarg main road. Stop on a dirt road. “Welcome to Tashiling“, said Mr. Tirtha.
My steps were immediately drawn to a row of souvenir stalls. Yesss…. That was where Tibetan people earn money to survive in their refugee camps. On the way home, Mr. Tirtha regretted Tibetan migration because China has paid more attention to Tibet welfare now.
Entering this 56 year old village, I could get a peek at a little Tibetan culture. The way they dress and worship was an easy thing to grasp during this brief visitation. The hospitality of the tiny residents with brown skin and slanted eyes became something unforgettable. According to a confession from one of them, there were about 700 Tibetan refugees in this village. Even in the early days of their migration, there were about 2,000 residents.
Tashiling itself was only one of 12 refugee camps across Nepal. It was well known since Dalai Lama resistance, many Tibetans migrated to Nepal on 1959-1961.
Satisfied in seeing Tashiling’s face, I took time to sit at their small restaurant. I ordered a bowl of noodles for lunch. Simple menu for 150 Rupee which made me ready to continue the journey to next destination.
Come on, go to next destination….