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Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

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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