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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

The Legend of Sri Venkateswara Part 2- The Lord finds a mother.. and a wife too......


Please read the first part of the story before going further - Part 1 - The Lord descends on Earth


A lady named Vakula Devi attended to Varaha Swamy at his shrine. The arrival of the lord incited her maternal instincts, and she cared for him and nursed him back to good health. It was she who gave him the name – Srinivasa – the name by which He is now well known in this age.

Deviating from the main story, let’s go back in time to learn about Vakula Devi, and how she earned the honour to act as the mother of the lord. During the Dwapara Yuga, when the lord incarnated as Krishna, he was born to Devaki, and was fostered by Yashoda. While Yashoda enjoyed every bit of Krishna’s childhood, her only regret was that she was unable to see her beloved son getting married. The lord promised her that he would fulfill her desire in the Kali Yuga, when he would take the form of Srinivasa. Yashoda had thus taken birth as Vakula Devi and was awaiting the marriage of her son.

Coming back to our story, Srinivasa lived with Vakula Devi and once he was cured, roamed the forests like a hunter. On one such occasion, he followed an elephant to a lake, where his eyes fell on a princess who had come there to frolic in the water with her friends. It was love at first sight for both of them. While Srinivasa looked on, enchanted, the princess was also entranced by the hunter, and even as her friends tried to shoo away the stranger, she asked them not to drive him away, but enquire about him. Her friends approached the lord, and asked him about his antecedents. He truthfully replied that he was living with his mother in the Seshachala Mountains, and then boldly asked for the princess’ hand. The friends were absolutely shocked by the hunter’s impertinence, and shooed him away.

Srinivasa returned home, and started brooding about this incident. He found himself unable to think of anyone or anything but the princess. So, who was this princess? Goddess Lakshmi was performing penance at Kolhapur – so who was this, who had entranced the lord? To know the answer, we have to go back in time again and learn the story of Padmavati.

Coming up : Part 3 - The story of Padmavati

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