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Scotland. The Dalai Lama supports efforts to save a Tibetan cafe in Edinburgh

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The 14th Dalai Lama supports efforts to save the Scottish café. Why this particular one? It is about a promise made to him by a Tibetan woman 17 years ago. Reka Gawa opened a Himalaya coffee shop in Edinburgh after a chance meeting with a Tibetan spiritual leader. Now the owner of the building where the premises is located wants to sell it.


Reka was raised in the city of Mussoorie in northern India and moved to Denmark at the age of 13. At 22, she moved to Edinburgh and got a job in the Scottish Parliament. There, in 2004, she met the Dalai Lama, who was visiting Scotland.

“I was so excited, happy and upset that I met him in person because I had only seen him in pictures before. I called my parents in India to tell them about it,” the BBC quotes her.

“I promised to stay in Scotland”

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– I was waiting for him in the hall (Scottish Parliament – ed.), And then I saw him approaching me, and my heart was beating very fast, tears ran down my face – remembers Reka.

“He stood beside him and took his hands to comfort me,” he says. However, she adds that “they were tears of joy”.

The Dalai Lama asked her where she was from and how long she had been in Scotland. “He asked me to spread Tibetan culture in Scotland,” she recalls. – I promised him it would be my priority. It was like a dream – he adds.

Dalai Lama XIVShutterstock

Himalaya propagates Tibetan culture

Reka has decided that she will find a way to open a Tibetan café with a meditation room in Edinburgh. In 2006, she stopped working in the Scottish Parliament, and in 2007 she founded the Himalaya Cafe on South Clerk Street. In an interview with the BBC, he describes how she did it. She explained that she liked one of the rental properties. – When the owner showed me the inside, I couldn’t believe how messy it was. But I felt a strong bond with this place, I knew I had to do my best to keep my promise to the Dalai Lama, ”he says.

With the help of friends, she renovated the cafe. – They helped me refresh the place, and in return they could eat and drink at my place. If you have good intentions in your heart, good things happen around you, ‘she says.

Owner sells the building

The BBC writes that “over the past 14 years, Reka has built a strong community around cafes and businesses.” However, the building in which the Tibetan woman rents the premises has been put up for sale. The woman decided to buy it, but so far she has not raised enough money, despite the fact that she took a bank loan and borrowed from her family.

Sonam Tsering Frasi, the representative of the Dalai Lama in Northern Europe and the Baltics, says the spiritual leader knows about the coffee shop and the woman’s commitment.

– I really appreciate that Reka has been promoting Tibetan culture in Scotland for many years. I would like this cafe to work continuously, feed deliciously and still be a quiet place for Scotsmen – she adds.

– I would be sad if I could not save this place. It is my life’s work, and I want to keep my promise to His Holiness, ”admits Reka.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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