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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

KGAF 2014 - A Glimpse

January has already ended, and we are already a week into February. The year seems to be rushing past, and if the last few weeks have been any indication, things will only heat up in the coming months. It promises to be a busy year, and it is going to be an effort to update the blog on a regular basis, so please do bear with me.

Frictional Origami

Meanwhile, there are lots of good things happening around me, chiefly among which is my sister's engagement!! Yes, my little sister is getting married, and I couldn't be more excited! And competing with this wonderful event was something I look forward to every year - the Kala Ghoda Art Festival!! I did miss the first two days of the fest, but am slowly catching up. There have been compensations though.... I attended two heritage walks, for the very first time, and then dragged Samhith off to look at the installations on Rampart Row. While I will, of course, write more detailed posts in the next few days, here is a small glimpse..

The KGAF 2014 Heritage Walks are named 'Monumentum' - rather aptly, I think, since they are mostly about monuments.. and 'Momentum' does seem to be a theme this year, around which many of the installations have been based. The Heritage walks too have a similar theme, focusing on the communities which make up the city, and their movement and changes they brought along, through the years. The first walk I was able to attend was the Jewish History walk, which took us to the Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue in Fort. While the bit of history we learnt revolved around David Sassoon, most of which I already knew, this was my first visit to a synagogue, and it was a revelation of sorts! I loved it, and hope to visit more soon. All I need is the opportunity and the permission to enter them!!!!

Inside the Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue

Detail of the stained glass in the synagogue

The second heritage walk I attended, began with a workshop - on Stained Glass Painting. After all, the walk was supposed to take us to two churches which had some fabulous stained glass panels - The St. Thomas Cathedral and the Holy Name Cathedral (or Wodehouse Church). While the workshop was an eye opener, the churches themselves were so beautiful I wondered why I had never entered them before. And these are just two of the many churches which have some fascinating stained glass work in Mumbai!

A stained glass lamp shade at the workshop

Stained Glass panels of St. Thomas and the archangels St. Michael and St.Gabriel at the St. Thomas Cathedral, Fort

Part of a stained Glass panel at the Holy Name Cathedral, Wodehouse Road, Colaba

Attending the Heritage Walks, I spent hours around Kala Ghoda, but didn't get to see a single installation... thanks to the crowd, and having to register well in advance. Which is why, I went again.... with Samhith this time, just to look at them! This was surely my favourite one of the lot! Look how beautifully it has been installed... almost blending into the scene behind... the trees I mean, not the people...

Moving Grids - Artist : Nitant Hirlekar

which brings me to this...

and this...

I wonder how many of the people who thronged the fest even noticed these signs placed on the ground. They are meant to keep the people away from the installation.... first, so the art remains intact... and second and more importantly, so that we can see the installation as it is meant to be seen.. from a distance of about 10 feet. Unfortunately, few people seem to notice them, or actually follow what they say. However, it is small touches like these which makes the fest such a memorable experience for us, year after year!

As I said before, this post is just meant to give you a glimpse of what KGAF 2014 was like, and to remind you that the fest is still on, till this weekend - the 9th of Feb. If you haven't already visited, go have a great time, but be prepared for massive crowds over the weekend! Else, simply wait for my detailed posts!!


  1. Thank you so much for giving attention to details in my installation (hardly any1 did) ... I wish there were 1000's of you :p..

    Very much appreciated . :D

    1. You are welcome, Nitant! but it is we who must thank you for your wonderful installation! I know how frustrating it can be for an artist, when his work is not appreciated, but unfortunately, with the kind of crowd that the KGAF draws, it is getting increasingly difficult to spend time with installations and understand them peacefully. That said, for every callous spectator more interested in selfies than the art itself, there are many who really try to see and appreciate it. So, don't be disheartened, but keep up the good work! I look forward to seeing more of your work soon!

    2. We artist know that thr is some part of the crowd who values art and want undestand it but bec of that Selfie Crowd that part of the crowd is also reducing day by day in KGAF which makes it more frustrating .. and I dont mind people not appreciating my art ... but at least even if they try getting into it ... is also very peacefully .

      Anyways thanks for tht blogroll
      And you can check my other work on my blog

    3. I couldnt agree with you more, Nitant. This, unfortunately seems to be a by product of popularisation of art and festivals. and sad to say, but we really dont know how to behave, esp in a crowd. and yes, this pushes the interested away. all we can do is hope for better times. And will def check your blog!

    4. Hi,
      Here are More Insight on Moving grids


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