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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

Dubare: The Elephants and the River

Dubare is known for its elephant camp. Located on the picturesque banks of the Kaveri, this was where the elephants used in the Mysore region were trained.


Those were the days of extensive logging, and before the times of six wheel drives, and elephants were invaluable. That was also the time when the Mysore Dasara celebrations were at their most ostentatious, and there was a lot for the elephants to do, and to be trained for. Times changed, as they are wont to do, and the elephants were rendered jobless. They are still used during the Dasara celebrations, but not in numbers like in those times. Besides, the elephants still had to be fed and taken care of, for the rest of the year. Someone, along the way, had the brilliant idea of opening the camp to visitors, and they have struck lucky with it. Today, Dubare sees loads of visitors, who rush to enjoy a chance to bathe or feed the elephants, or simply to enjoy a joyride on one of them.



We visited Dubare in March this year, and, though it wasn’t peak season, the place was still packed with squealing adults and kids. Yes, that included my excited son, who was scared of the elephants, but still wanted to go near; didn’t want to get wet, but couldn’t stay away from the water; was saddened by the chains on the elephants, but couldn’t help smiling when he could go near and scrub the elephant, reassured by those very chains. 



As for me, I simply stood afar, trying desperately to get some decent photos – without the crowd in them!




Information:
  • The Tourist arrangements at Dubare are handled by JungleLodges and Resorts. They have a resort in the camp, though it is not necessary to stay there to enjoy the activities. Most of the crowd are visitors, who make day trips to the camp. Apart from the activities involving the elephants, it is also possible to go rafting on the Kaveri, or on treks inside the forest.


I have not stayed at their Dubare resort, by going by my experience of their other resorts,  I would think that staying there would give us time away from the crowds. That, to me, can only enhance the experience of Dubare! 

Comments

  1. Heard a lot about this place, yet to visit..

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    Replies
    1. Its nice, Meghana, but a bit too crowded for me :D

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  2. I am yet to go there..but very soon I will..Thanks for reminding me what I missed :)

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome, Ankita! look forward to reading about your experience!

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  3. http://tinyurl.com/workid/?id=Aayu

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  4. Love the third photo of the elephant sitting in the water. Where is Dubare, btw? Near Kabini?

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  5. Great piece of information, especially on the history of Dubare . I just wanted to add a couple of points for the benefit of the readers who wish to reference this blog if they are travelling to Dubare. While the place is most famous for elephants, one can spot other animals like spotted deer and sambar. The river is home to some crocodiles too. Having a local expert always helps. For birdwatchers, there’s a feast awaiting in the form of woodpeckers, kingfishers, and partridges. Being in the Coorg district, mornings are especially beautiful and weather is simply great throughout the year.

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