Dharma Shala Soup

Hearty comfort for weary travelersNoa Jones

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s hood in the Himalayan foothills is technically McLeod Ganj, but we know it as Dharamasala. The name can be understood from the Sanskrit compound dharma + shala to mean a resting place for spiritual wanderers. And the wanderers do come in flocks. Among many other things, it’s a place for lama-spotting and deciphering menus in Hebrew, shopping for rainbow-colored mittens and haggling over dharma implements. There are some decent health food stores perched on its damp hillsides, where you can buy the staples of a wanderer—tahini and gluten-free muffins—and so the living can be good. It’s not what I would call a restful place, however; some profoundly restless souls can be found wandering the swirling mists of its steep streets. I have found my dharamsalas elsewhere. Since becoming homeless, I’ve been doing pretty well for myself, enjoying the hospitality of friends and also strangers.

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