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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

Progress and more at Victoria Terminus (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus)

For a long time, I thought she was Queen Victoria, and I often wondered why she had a torch in her hand. The only other lady I knew who held a torch was the Lady of Liberty, and her standing here didn’t make sense either. After all, this was Victoria Terminus. It should be Queen Victoria standing up there, right?




That was a long time back, when I was in school, and Victoria Terminus was just another railway station… a grand and beautiful one, which awed most of her visitors, but it wasn’t the UNESCO World Heritage Site it is today, and information about it was hard to come by. It was only much later that I learnt that she is the Lady of Progress, and that she holds that torch to show us the path ahead. Her left hand rests on a wheel – her symbol.

The statue of Progress seems to be dwarfed by the sheer size and number of turrets..


She is not the only woman up there on the beautiful structure. She is accompanied by three other statues - one representing Agriculture, another Engineering & Science, and the third, Shipping and Commerce - the pillars of progress. And yes, Queen Victoria was there too, on a niche in the central dome. Unfortunately, we can’t see her any more, since no one seems to know where she is.

A broader view, showing two other statues.. on the gables on either side


They stand out there, in the open, waiting to be seen, to be admired, but it isn’t an easy matter, for this is one of the busiest railway stations in the world, still used for the purpose it was built for – which only makes me admire it all the more! Unfortunately, I am unable to find information which can help me identify these sculptures. Here is a closer look at two of them.... Do you know which they are? If you do, please enlighten me and my readers by leaving a comment below, and I will update this post.






I managed to click these photographs while on an open decker bus tour, courtesy Audio Compass, who have launched a new Android App which helps us appreciate these beautiful heritage landmarks of our city. Also, the heritage gallery of the station (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus) is open to the public, from 3 to 5 PM on weekdays. Such initiatives are long overdue, and we need to make the most of them. So, stay tuned, for a photo tour of both, the Fort area in Mumbai, as well as glimpse into the CST Heritage Gallery, both of which are coming up soon….. Watch this space! 

Comments

  1. Wow!! This place is so closed to our heart & still so far as we are busy in our own lives. Crisply written article, which gives all the facets of the place!! Anu pl. elaborate on Audio Compass Bus Tour. have you downloaded some photos from APPS or you could take from the Bus Top ?

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    1. Thank you, Dilip! all the photos are ones i clicked on the tour

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  2. For a long time, I thought the statue of progress was "The Grand Old Lady of Boribunder", till I was corrected. :)

    The 3 statues are Agriculture, Engineering & Science, and Shipping and Commerce ? But it is difficult to figure out which is which.

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    Replies
    1. Wow! 'Grand old lady of Boribunder' sounds so much more interesting.. And we could have thought up a few interesting legends around her too :-) but yes, those are the three other sculptures. They are sometimes mixed up, but these are the names according to the CST heritage gallery. We must make a leisurely early morning visit and try to figure out which is which. Am sure there are lots of references to Greek and Roman myths behind their depiction, so we can drag kiddo asking too :-)

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  3. Wow Simply Superb

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