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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

Book Review: Arjuna by Anuja Chandramouli

Arjuna, in the Mahabharata, is described as the Nara to Krishna’s Narayana. In the entire epic, if Krishna is the one who wields the strings, albeit behind the scenes, it is Arjuna who is in the forefront of the story. It is he who is the most loved among the Pandavas, and it is his story Anuja Chandramouli seeks to relate, in her book by the same name.


She begins her story at the same place Veda Vyasa did – with Janamejaya’s sacrifice, and his quest to know more about his ancestors. However, instead of the epic in its entirety, she chooses to focus on Arjuna alone. However, Arjuna, for all his heroism and stature, cannot be separated from the Mahabharata. 

Therefore, Anuja has no choice but to relate events happening around him, which makes it into yet another rendition of one of the greatest of Indian epics.

On the positive side, the author manages to hold on to her narrative, through the book, though she frequently delves into the past, or peeks into the future, to explain events in the present. In fact, her narrative is what carries the book through, since it’s a story most of us know well. That she manages to introduce some surprises, in the form of less known events and happenings, simply adds to her credit.

The writing is good, as is the language, but on the downside, the book reads like an essay, a simple retelling of the story, especially in the beginning. It took me quite a while to get past the first few chapters, and a spelling or proofing error I found didn’t help matters either. It took the story of Uloopi and Babhruvahana to get me interested in the book, and read through to the end.

To clarify, I found only one spelling or proofing error on Pg.70, but sometimes, even one can be one too many.


The best thing I can say about the book is that Anuja Chandramouli brings us a story we know well, adding some details many might not know. It is this which makes the book worth a read. 

This book was sent to me for review by Leadstart Publishing. The views expressed are my own. 


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