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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 2010 - Day 8 - The Best Golu I have seen so far!

This certainly has to be the best Golu I have seen so far this year... It has been kept at the house of a friend of Shankar's uncle, and it takes the prize for creativity as well as hard, hard work!

First, let us get the usual steps out of the way...... Here they are, with the usual dolls...

Yes, I know we have seen enough dolls over the last week, but these are the only ones here which need to be highlighted - some representations of famous personalities as well as tribals...

Now for the most interesting thing...

Heres a first look.... Can you guess what all is there? and how it is arranged?

Before I get to the individual pieces, let me tell you what this is - The Golu is a two tier one, the upper one representing an American town, and the lower one, an Indian village.. talk about contrasts!!!

The person who makes all this retired from his government job quite a few years ago. This is his hobby, something he spends more than half the year on! To see his attention to detail, and his immense talent, look at the intricate details in these pics. I wish I could upload the pics in their original size, but alas, my google account is full, and there is just no more place for pics... Hence, these are all embedded from my Picasa albums.....

Now, lets go, take a closer look....

Let's start with the most interesting thing here.... A McDonalds!!! If you look closer, you can see the serving counters inside!

See the play area next door?

Doesnt it make you want to get right in?

Look at these apartments....

This one is the same, with the lights on...

Heres a shopping centre...

A house...

Another house...

And a petrol pump...

Now lets move below the table, to the Indian village...

Here are the fields... with farmers harvesting the crops.

Heres a marriage procession, a temple, and a pond....

A bullock cart carrying hay, completely hand made!

And the different types of houses....

These trees have also been made, not bought! Did you see those trees near the houses in the pictures above? Those have also been made!

Here is the creator, with his creations....

And finally, here is a video of the whole arrangement...

By now, some of you may be wondering why I have just mentioned this as the 'Best Golu I have seen so far', and not 'Best golu I have EVER seen!'.... Have any of you wondered?????????

Well, there happens to be the answer to this too.... I have seen some Golus made by him earlier... That was before I began blogging, so no wonder you didnt get to see them! And each one has been as good, if not better! He keeps most of his creations intact, at least the important ones, and also has video recordings of each golu, so I have been able to see his earlier ones too.. the ones I missed!

Here are some such earlier creations, showcased all over his house....

This one is my favourite! One which he made years ago, before I was fortunate enough to see his work.....Can you guess what it is?

It happens to be a replica of a railway station, modelled on the one at Dadar... Look at the kind of details he has incorporated... all the pics below are from the same set...

I have not mentioned any names here, because I did not ask permission, but he is quite well known in his locality, for his creations appear regularly in the local papers... After all, how can anyone not appreciate such hard work and dedication???

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!


  1. This is brilliant stuff! Such an eye for detail.

  2. This guy is really something. So beautiful and finest miniature designs. Creativity par excellence. God bless.

  3. So much patience and creativity is involved in this work..amazing..Hats off to this amazing person

  4. Gosh! I am speechless..... amazing!
    As for your suggestion on my previous comment to upload pics of my golu, well, I couldnt manage to come up with anything different this year. And in front of creative people like you, I feel my Golu is nothing :)
    So, maybe next year :)

  5. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful golu... its the best i have ever seen... so artistic and such great thoughts and patience..... hats off to them.... i just wish i was there in that place...  what an art..... just amazing...... am speechless.... so much detailing i have never seen before... thanks for sharing ..... 


  6. Beautiful creations!

  7. Wow! This is awesome. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful work with all of us.   He is definitely inspiring!

    This is my first time here, came from art navy's blog. 

  8. Thanks  Shankari! It was certainly the best one I had ever seen! and welcome here.... 

  9. This is really awe inspiring work, the details are fantastic and fabulous. It is definitely a wonderful art creation and it shows his dedication towards making things perfect. That said and done, and with no offense to these beautiful creations, this need not be said as a Golu as a Golu, the importance of it, the culture behind it is different and it is not about showcasing things as done here is my humble thought. But, kudos to the gentlemen who created this with such details. Take Care. Thanks. (Specifically posted as Anonymous - not out of fear of rebuttal - but in general if it is anonymous it could be omitted in total - if felt like taking in the point still it could be taken magnanimously - Thanks.)

    1. Thanks for the comment, Anonymous. the whole idea of comments is to invite different opinions. well, in one way, u are right.. the idea of a golu is to celebrate creation.. not to display ones perfection.. but then the whole idea of setting up a golu is to include the whole family in something which is basically a festival celebrating life and fertility.. this is the only way men and kids were allowed into the celebrations,, for eg. if i didnt keep a golu, my son would be least interested in the festival.. and as he grows, i can see how he keeps thinking of ideas to make it better... so this is just a way to enjoy the whole idea of the festival.


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