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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

Rajabai Tower

As a student of Mumbai University, I always regretted the fact that I never had to visit the beautiful campus at Fort, commuting to the Kalina campus instead. Every time I was in town, I walked along the Fort Campus, looking up at the clock tower, slowing down to take a closer look at the convocation hall. At one time, I remember hoping that I would enter that beautiful hall for receiving my degree, but that hope too came to naught, since the premises were too small, and we were handed our degrees by a harassed clerk who couldn't care less about the momentous occasion! I digress, however, for this post is not about my degree, but about the majestic clock tower of Mumbai University - Rajabai Tower, which I recently photographed on a visit to the University.

The Rajabai Tower is our very own version of the Big Ben. It was modeled on the famous clock tower by its architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott. It was built over a period of over 9 years, from 1868-1879, at a cost of about 2 lakh rupees, the entire cost borne by the one of the founders of the Bombay Stock Exchange, Premchand Roychand, under the condition that the tower be named after his mother, Rajabai. 

It is said that Rajabai was blind, and, as a staunch Jain, she had to eat her dinner before sunset. The chimes of the clock helped her do so without anyone's help!

During the British Rule, the clock played a total of 16 tunes, which were changed 4 times a day. According to Wikipedia, today, the clock chimes only one tune, every 15 minutes, something I haven't noticed! So, the next time you find yourself in town near the Fort Campus, see if you can hear it!


  1. Interesting. Never heard of it before.

  2. Lovely pictures and interesting history. How nice it would be to have it as part of your university premises or maybe like everything else we might then take it for granted?

  3. Mishtee took this structure for her scrap book. I've promised to take her to visit it. In addition to the above information, we also read that it has very beautiful stained glass windows.

  4. you would have seen the clock tower, Indrani...this is just its official name

  5. Its a beautiful building, Mridula not just this one but the whole campus is beautiful! it still hosts the old library. unfortunately, it was built for the univ of the early 1900s and woefully lacks space, so the whole campus has been shifted to huge but boring premises near Kurla... but as u say, it might be taken for granted! as it is, i had to take a taxi that day since i was in a hurry, and the taxi chap didnt know the univ... when we finally reached, he insisted that this was not the 'vidyapeeth' - it was on the other side of the road, according to him!

  6. u need permission to enter, Sonal.. unfortunately... u can go to the convo hall if there is some exhibition or they wont allow u inside... and even then only certain parts of the building are open for us.. security is strict post 26/11 :( all u can do is see it from outside... and even then they dont allow u to stand there for long. i clicked these while waiting for the bus opp... and yes, the stained glass windows are awesome! tell mishtee to take up arts in the univ  (PG level) and then she can go to their beautiful library... outsiders arent given permission any more :(

  7. After reading the title of the post I was leasurely and I was scrolling down beacuse the photographs were loading slowly. I was perplexed to see the beauty caught by you. The tower is a familiar sight but I could never imagine that they look so beautiful at night. Thanks.

  8. I lived close to it for a couple of years and always used to admire this landmark! Thanks for the brief history and refreshing my memory

  9. Very beautiful shots of the lovely tower Anu. The night lights give it a completely different orientation and look.

  10. Thanks a lot, Zephyr! I was surprised too... had never seen it lit up!

  11. Thanks PNS! Neither could I imagine the place all lit up!

  12. Awesome blog with nice and interesting information.


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