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Ladakh Diaries Part 9: Lamayuru

Lamayuru is one of the most ancient monasteries in Ladakh, the oldest surviving structure dating to the 11 th century CE. What makes this monastery particularly fascinating, is its location, amidst what is today called the “moonscape”, for the spectacular natural rock formations, which truly are “out of the world”! As per legend , there once existed a huge lake in this area, populated only by the Nagas (serpents). It was prophesized that there would be a great monastery built here. This prophecy came true when the great acharya Naropa (756-1041 CE) arrived. He emptied the lake, meditated for many years inside a cave, and built the first monastery here. The present structure is a new one, built around the cave where Acharya Naropa is said to have meditated. This legend seems to fit well with the geological formations seen in the area, which suggest this was a paleo-lake, which disappeared around 1000 years ago. Lamayuru is about 130 km from Leh , and the Indus River flows along th

Navaratri Experience -11- Dusshera

The tenth day of Navaratri – Dusshera or Vijaya Dashami celebrates the victory of good over evil. Whether one considers it the celebration of the Devi’s victory over Mahishasura, or Rama’s victory over Ravana, we celebrate the end of tyranny and evil, and usher in a new era of goodness and righteousness. This is the reason it is considered auspicious to begin new ventures on this day. Be it buying a new house, opening a shop, or starting a course of study, this is one of the most auspicious days to do so. People studying the arts, especially the classical forms like music and dance, begin their classes on this day.

This year, Samhith stepped into the vast world of classical music, joining a music initiation course for Tiny Tots at the Chembur Fine Arts Society. It was a beautiful sight at the hall, which was lined with musical instruments of every kind.
From Miscellaneous

From Miscellaneous

The prayers began at 9 AM sharp, followed by a symbolic beginning of each class. I had been wondering what my little one would do in a music class when he doesn’t sit still for five minutes, but my fears were dispelled when I saw some other kids even more hyper than mine, and the teacher, who seemed perfectly at ease with them, and capable of handling these cute, adorable monsters. Wonder how she is going to teach them!
From Miscellaneous


In the evening, we went to the temple as usual, preparing ourselves mentally that there would be no new decorations. Samhith was excited when he saw that the decoration pandal was still there, but a little upset when he saw that the decoration was the same as the day before- Saraswati and Brahma. The decoration had been left undisturbed, for the Vidyarambham (beginning of studies) programme in the morning. But we had a pleasant surprise to see that the Devi was being readies for the final day’s procession. The Devi comes out in a procession only on the last day, when there is no other programme in the temple. She goes up to the border (end) of the colony – a tradition similar to what Maharashtrians call ‘Seemolanghan’. We asked permission and took a photo which I am reproducing below. The Devi is seated on a horse, all decked up, looking gorgeous.

From Miscellaneous

This brings my series of blogs on Navaratri to a close. Even though we were at home, seeing all the decorations gave an experience of virtuall travel, and i hope all those reading these posts too would have experienced the same.

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