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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 2009 - the last two days - Ashtami and Navami






The last two days of navaratri have been as hectic as the first……. I have tried to visit all my relatives, and return in time to be home to receive those who come to my house, and it has been a race against time, with my wishing for a few more hours each day.

However, I have some interesting kolus for you today.

The first is the one at the Marubai Gavdevi Mandir, Wadala. I have heard of this one for years from my aunt who visits it every year, and this year, I decided that I just had to visit the temple. The golu is not too huge, just 5 steps, but beautiful, with some old and wonderful dolls… Take a look…












Look at the Ganesha holding the lingam – an unusual doll…




The Dashavataram set is beautiful, with great detailing, but the Vamanavatar one is missing…..




Samhith was fascinated by the fruits and vegetables, especially the tiny ones….
















Now here’s a Kolu of one of our neighbours – they are an old couple who still take the pains to make a side decoration. This is one house I take Samhith to, every year, no matter what! This year, they have made Kedarnath and Badrinath.







One of their grandsons has brought all those plastic trees and plants from the US, and Samhith wants some!!! He now has wonderful ideas for a hill scene next year, and says we can make it even better!!!

At the temple, the theme, being Ashtami, was Mahishasura Mardhini……. While we loved the decoration, Samhith was curious to know why the Devi wasn’t shown killing Mahishasura. He said they looked very friendly together, something which brought smiles to the faces of all those around, including the vadhyar who had made the decoration!!!!




Navami began with me performing the Saraswati Puja at home. Here is my arrangement, the photograph of Saraswati kept on top of books (which are covered by the cloth).




We then hurried to visit some more relatives, our last such trip for the year….

The first house we visited was Shankar’s uncle and aunt’s at Vashi. While they had kept a small Kolu this year, the highlight was a beautiful set of dolls depicting the Brahmotsavam at Tirupati.. …….




Here is Samhith with them….




The next stop was another uncle’s place, this time at Chembur, and here is their kolu…..




I especially love this set of dolls….





Our final visit was to another of our relatives’ place at Chembur, who keep a beautiful Kolu with some beautiful dolls…..













Here is another Kolu that I have been seeing everyday – one of our neighbours’ – and have finally photographed… all their dolls are old ones, and you can clearly see why we think they are special……









that one's Nala and Damayanti....











And finally, at the temple, the decoration was Saraswati…..





The nine days and nights of the festival are through, and so are we with our socializing. Tomorrow all the toys will be taken out and returned to their trunk, where they will hide till next year (hopefully) to emerge for another round of celebration.

The 10th day is still here, though, to be celebrated, and I shall be back with my last post on this festival…..


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