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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

Surprises at Udupi

In October 2011, we spent the Diwali vacation in and around Sringeri. Refreshed and rejuventated by the peaceful and serene environs of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham, we visited a number of temples around Sringeri, and then headed off for a quick visit to Kollur and Udupi. Continuing with the story............

It had been drizzling while we were in the temple, but the rain seemed to take a break as we emerged. As we hurried to the bus stand before the rain started again, our attention was caught by these huge mannequins at the entrance to the temple hall. A faded poster informed us that they had stood welcome for a Yakshagana performance a few weeks earlier...

Naturally, I stopped to click a photo, and that drew our attention to something else... something I hadn’t seen in a long, long time..... local tightrope artistes!

They were a fairly common sight on the roads of Delhi during my childhood, and even when we came to Mumbai, we spotted them now and again. There was a time when I remember watching them with bated breath... Then came a time when I passed by without stopping for a look... It has only been recently that I realised they have been missing from our streets for quite a few years... and, as with most such things, the realisation came only with the desire to show Samhith the entertainments we grew up with!

Shankar and I were transported to our childhood, and we watched happily, but Samhith was less impressed, thanks to all the stunts he watches on TV.....

The kid with the collection bowl was covered in feathers...
Here are a couple of videos...

And as we watched, behind the performers and the temple, there arose a beautiful rainbow!

It was a wonderful sight.... the rainbow, the temple, and the performers!

What an end to the day, we thought, as we went on our way to the bus stand. It just shows how little we knew of what was to come next!!!

We reached the bus stand, only to discover that we had missed the last bus to Sringeri once again!!!! And it began pouring too!! Any sane person would have hired a car to Sringeri, or stayed overnight at Udupi. But not us! Shankar decided that we could take an auto back to Sringeri. I was sceptical, but the auto driver whom he found seemed ready to take on the challenge. Thus we set off, amidst the pouring rain, on a road which seemed too pockmarked to justify the title of ‘hghway’... till somewhere near Manipal, where the rain proved too much for all of us, and the auto driver finally gave up! How we managed to get a taxi in pitch darkness, with the rain in full force, and how we arrived at Sringeri, bedraggled and drooping with sleep, is something I wish I could forget!

That, we hoped, was the end of our adventure. We were to leave Sringeri the next morning, and head towards the River Tern Lodge. It was a much anticipated part of our trip, and we were looking forward to it eagerly. However, we had more adventures in store before reaching the lodge! 


  1. Hi Anuradha! Awesome write up. I happened to take a look at it by chance and I am inspired. Both to travel to Udupi and to continue my writing...

    1. Thanks Smita... All the very best!Hope I get to read soon about your visit to Udupi!

  2. very interesting. I enjoy divali in 2009 in Tamil Nadu. Greetings Dietmut

    1. Thanks Dietmut! Hope you enjoyed Diwali in Tamilnadu

  3. Hey that street performer just gave me an idea for a post. Thank you :) Your travails in the auto sounded too traumatic. Wonder how you survived that and made plans for the next day! I have been to Udipi in 2002 and gone to the temple. Didn't go around much though.

    1. Now I am waiting to read your post, Zephyr!!! and it wasnt really traumatic.. we enjoyed it for a while, actually,. it was only that we were really tired after a long day and it eventually caught up with us! and besides, we had to break our resolution to avoid hiring a cab!

  4. (With a look of absolute horror) An auto from Udipi to Sringeri? Are you serious? You are really brave or adventurous or both.

    1. :D thats us!!! call us mad or adventurous or both! so now u know why samhith is the way he is!

  5. That was too much "An Auto from Udupi to Sringeri" , This is an example of what they say in hindi pakki ghumakkari . The place and the post both were refreshing to me and my memories in Udupi and rainbow was the cherry on the cake .

    Thanks for sharing

  6. oh wow I loved the video and the little girl performing Awesome..

    but then sad too that such a little girl has to work to earn a living ..

    lovely pics


    1. Thanks Bikram.. and thats the sad part of it.. the reason we dont really enjoy these performances as much these days...


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