Himalayan Leap of Love

A nice account of Gyalo Thondup La’s story.. from Tibet to Kalimpong.

From OPEN Magazine

A Sino-Tibetan love story, welcomed and cherished by an Indian hill station
BY Avantika Bhuyan

Gyalo Thondup not know the precise moment that love happened to him; he just happened to realise, by and by, that his heart felt warm and aglow. And that it had to do with his journey of love from the historic city of Nanking in China to the Himalayan town of Darjeeling in India.

It seems like a fairytale now, as we look back at events from Thondup’s cottage nestled in the natural beauty of an estate off 8th Mile Road in Kalimpong, near Darjeeling in West Bengal. Sepia photographs perched on his living room mantle take us straight back to the beginning—in 1945.

Gyalo’s country of origin, Tibet, was experiencing a measure of peace, back then, having reasserted independence in 1913 after decades of rebuffing British and Chinese attempts at taking control. His fellow Tibetans were suspicious of Chinese intentions, but were hopeful all the same of peace talks with the Chinese Nationalist Party, Kuomintang (KMT). It would not be until 1949 that the Communist regime of the People’s Republic of China, under Mao Zedong, would stake its claim to Tibet.

It was a period of calm, and young Gyalo took this chance to leave home for Nanking in pursuit of higher studies. A close grasp of the Chinese language, his father believed, would equip him well to participate in the expected talks. This was important to the future of Tibet, and that of Gyalo’s younger brother, Lhamo Thondup, who had been recognised as the 14th Dalai Lama only eight years earlier. It was while mulling all this at the Central Political University of Nanking that he first met her. Di Kyi Dolkar. A pretty young girl with a beautiful smile.

Read the rest here.


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