The Dalai Lama’s private moments

NBC's Ann Curry visited the Dalai Lama in McLeod Ganj, Upper Dharamsala, India, in March 2009. The holy leader gave NBC News extraordinary access to his personal life, which revealed his private rituals both ancient and modern.

NBC's Ann Curry visited the Dalai Lama in McLeod Ganj, Upper Dharamsala, India. The Tibetan leader fled his homeland in 1959 after China crushed a Tibetan uprising against harsh Communist rule. For decades, he has been living in exile in a kind of holy citadel, protected by two perimeters of armed guards. The area is also known as "Little Lhasa," and is home to a large population of Tibetan refugees.

While the Dalai Lama possesses an aura of mystique, he allowed NBC cameras access to his personal life. He rose at 3:30 a.m. for confession and a workout, clocking a spirited pace on the treadmill.

His Holiness shared his day, which included a morning of meditation, cornflakes for breakfast, and watching news on BBC. He is pictured here in his bathroom, brushing his teeth.

NBC producer Justin Balding puts some powder on the Dalai Lama minutes before the on-camera interview.

NBC cameras captured the Dalai Lama meditating, surrounded by Buddhist icons. He is considered a living god by Tibetans and was enthroned when he was 4 years old.

After 50 years in exile, the Dalai Lama hasn't given up hope of returning to Tibet's capital. On the anniversary of the Tibetan uprising, he harshly criticized China and told NBC News that the occasion makes him "very very sad."