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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

Spot That Bird! White Cheeked Barbet

Sitting on the balcony of my room at the Club Mahindra Kodagu Valley (Coorg), I heard this bird long before I saw it. From this pic, can you guess why?





This is a White Cheeked Barbet, a common bird in these parts, but nevertheless, a lifer for me.


The White Cheeked Barbet is endemic to the Western Ghats, and the hills around it. They are frugivorous, which means, they mostly eat fruits, though they also eat insects at times. Interestingly, Wikipedia tells me that they are arboreal, which means they live on the trees, and rarely visit the ground - not even to drink water, like some other birds. They get most of their water intake through their fruity diet! 


These birds play an important role in the forest as seed dispersal, and, at times, pollination agents. Thankfully, they still seem to be plentiful, and not endangered. 



Capturing one on camera, however, turned out to be a difficult task. I eventually managed to click these pics later in the day when I left my room and went wandering around, looking for it! 


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