Shortly before midnight on March 17, 1959, the Dalai Lama, without his glasses and dressed as an ordinary Tibetan solider, slipped out of his summer residence with only four aides at his side. At that moment, he became the symbolic head of the Tibetan government in exile, and Gyalo Thondup, the only one of the Dalai Lama’s brothers not to don the robes of a Buddhist monk, became the fulcrum for the independence movement.
The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong tells the extraordinary story of the Dalai Lama’s family, the exile of the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism from Tibet, and the enduring political crisis that has seen remote and bleakly beautiful Tibet all but disappear as an independent nation-state.
For the last sixty years, Gyalo Thondup has been at the at the heart of the epic struggle to protect and advance Tibet in the face of unreliable allies, overwhelming odds, and devious rivals, playing an utterly determined and unique role in a Cold War high-altitude superpower rivalry. Here, for the first time, he reveals how he found himself whisked between Chiang Kai-shek, Zhou Enlai, Jawaharlal Nehru, and the CIA, as he tried to secure, on behalf of his brother, the future of Tibet.