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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 First Golu for this year...

After two posts of temples of the Goddess, it is time for some Bommai Kolus. The first one this year is from my mom's place in Thane....




A Bommai Kolu or Golu is an arrangement of dolls on steps during the nine days of the Navaratri festival. The steps represent the our aspiration  to attain oneness with the divine. The lower levels of the steps represent us - humans and our daily activities. The higher steps are for higher levels of divinity.. such as demi gods or scenes from the epics on the lower levels, and the main deities on the highest levels. 

The Golu in its entirety


The first step with people and household items

The Second Step - with Dakshinamurthy in the centre surrounded by the Dashavatars of Lord Vishnu, Ganesha,
Rama , and other Gods


The third step with different forms of Lord Vishnu - Venkateswara, Panduranga, and Krishna

The Fourth Step - with the 8 forms of Lakshmi - Ashta Lakshmi
The Fifth Step - with a beautiful idol of Krishna, the idols of Goddesses giving him company


The Kalash or Kalasam is the most important part of the golu. It is through the Kalasam that the goddess is invoked into our  attempt to replicate her creations

These steps are also a tribute or a reminder of the creations of the Devi, who is the mother of all humanity, and therefore, in many houses, you can also see some other arrangements.. either based on a story, or a theme, or maybe just a scene.... around the steps. This not only gives us an outlet for our creativity, but also involves the rest of the family in the celebrations, which usually involve mostly the women.

This year, my mother and aunt decided on a rural theme - showing the ancient methods of worship..


So, here is a village, (made with a bit of help from Samhith), at the foothills of a mountain, with a river, lake, and fields... And here and there you can see placards mentioning how people used to worship nature.. the mountain, the river, the trees, and fire. 


Here are some more dolls... placed around the room due to lack of space on the steps....


A cricket set


Assorted dolls

A North-Indian style wedding -
the bride and groom are handmade dolls, made by my aunt

And a South-Indian style one

vehicles galore

Manipuri Dancers - made by my aunt

An old couple with vessels to fill any house!

And some newer appliances too!
This is my favourite this year...

Originally dolls representing Gauri, which we buy for the Gauri Puja the day before Ganesh Chaturthi, here are some in a row, with a lamp in front of each!
And this, according to me, is the best exhibit this year... an old image of Lord Venkateswara printed on cloth has been given a new lease of life by my aunt, embellished with stones and sequins! 


This photo doesn't really do justice to the beautiful work of art. If you want a better look, go, visit them!

Comments

  1. Beautiful! I am reminded of my childhood days when we lived in a colony and we kids used to visit all houses to see kolu and eat sundal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pradeepa! I missed all that when I was a kid, because when I was a kid, we were the only south indians in the whole colony!!! besides, we couldnt keep the golu then :( now i am making up for it!!

      Delete
  2. Fantastic. Fortunately this year I am at Chennai during these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks PNS!!! wow, you are in chennai! looking forward to seeing navaratri in chennai thru ur eyes!

      Delete
  3. Beautiful....though we don't celebrate this festival...I enjoy this a lot

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lovely traditional Golu

    I am sure the vehicles are part of Samhith's collection?!

    Your pictures are truly gorgeous

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sowmya.. only a couple of them are his... my mom and aunt have a huge collection of their own!!!

      Delete
  5. This what I was searching..Good one...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Chitra... we didnt have the golu this year, so fewer posts too.. as Samhith said, if we do the puja, the goddess gives us the energy to do everything.. this year we didnt really have the energy to go roaming around either :(

      Delete

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