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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

Happy Deepavali

It's that time of the year when lamps are lit outside every house and the skies resonate with the colours and sounds of firecrackers. Its Diwali once again... or, to give it its right name - Deepavali - the festival of lights. 



My earliest memories of Deepavali have to do with lamps... lighting lamps and candles all around the house.. Firecrackers I usually stayed away from, apart from maybe a couple of sparklers and the stray flower pot. These days, lighting so many lamps isnt all that easy with a kid in the house, and crackers seem too noisy and smoky, so I would much rather stay away from them. Samhith, however, disagrees. He can't understand why he should stay away from crackers, and so, every year, we buy crackers and light them up - him with much enthusiasm, me with a lot of perturbation! 

When we travel, Diwali becomes that much more memorable - like the one I spent at Kashi, more than 20 years back, but which is still fresh in my memory..... or the one time we were at Saptashrungi, where, for the first time, I saw how people drew such beautiful rangolis, and made mud forts... or like last year, at Sringeri, where we spent the morning at the Ashram, and then the rest of the day at the market, looking for firecrackers! The fun of lighting firecrackers was simply multiplied by the way everyone staying at the ashram guest house joined in the celebrations... Thats what makes a festival really memorable. 

This year, while you read this post, I shall be somewhere else.... in interior Maharashtra once again... probably at Shegaon. I have no idea what the celebrations there will be like, but I look forward to it! 
Meanwhile, wish you all a very happy and safe Deepavali!! I shall be looking forward to reading all about your experiences of the festival when I get back!

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