Skip to main content

Featured Post

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

Prayer Flags and Prayer Wheels

Our visit to Sikkim in December 2014 was the first time we had set foot in the North-Eastern parts of India. Everything appeared new, interesting and yes, fascinating. No matter how much we had read or seen photographs of, it was still a ‘First Experience’, and one that we shall always remember. Before I begin my detailed posts on the stories and memories I have brought back, let me show you just what fascinated us the most…. Prayer Flags and Prayer Wheels!




The Prayer Flags were prominent on the roads as soon as we entered the hills in Darjeeling. I had read that the colours all have a significance, and while it is believed that they pass on our prayers to the Gods, the actual concept is to spread the virtue of the prayer in the wind, and circulate it among the people. The concept was great, but seeing the brightly coloured flags fluttering in the wind was even better!





They lined the paths to houses and monasteries, formed a fence to small lakes and ponds, fluttered atop a convenient tree, and elaborate ones even graced the flagpole of monasteries. I wished I could read and understand the prayers written on them!






The Prayer Wheels were even more fascinating, especially since we could actually turn them! Again, we already knew that there were prayers etched inside, and turning one was equivalent to saying the prayer aloud. The idea was so interesting, of praying without a sound! No wonder these hills were so serene!



The variety of prayer wheels was even more interesting – some with the syllables of the prayer written in decorative script, some with embossing, some with figures! Visiting monastery after monastery, it soon became a game for Samhith, who rushed to turn every prayer wheel in sight! I don’t think prayer has ever been so much fun for him!





At one of the monasteries we visited, we saw this sheet, stuck on the pillar supporting the prayer wheels. It explains the meaning and the effect of the syllables which make up the prayer inside the wheels.




It only emphasizes the fact that mere turning isn’t enough. It is necessary to understand it too. Turning the wheel can only be a beginning. But the mere fact of turning signifies a hope – of change, of better times. 

Comments

  1. Such a beautiful post, Anu. I am obsessed with prayer flags and everything pertaining with Buddhism. Prayer flags have always made me feel at home and happy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Amrita. I can so understand that.... especially now that I have seen them :D

      Delete
  2. Vibrant photos. Prayer flags are one of the most popular objects for travel photography, but still, when we actually see them, the new experience doesn't get any less newer :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Antonina! You have put it perfectly. There are some things which never lose their charm, no matter how photographed, and these are some of them!

      Delete
  3. Beautiful post ,prayer flags and prayer wheels do fascinate me too ,your post reminded me of Mcleodganj

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ani. I have yet to visit Mcleodganj! Hopefully will, this year :D

      Delete
  4. this reminded me of 1992.. yeah thats the time when i went to a Trek with my NCC group to Sikkim .. it is really a beautiful place.. and visited the Rumtek monastary (if i remember correctly)...

    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wow! that must have been quite a trip! Sikkim would have been even more unspoilt! and yes, you would have visited Rumtek too... that comes up later in the series :D

      Delete
  5. Wonderful photographs. We seem to be writing about the same place at the same time! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Deepanjan! Just hopped over to your blog, and yes, we are both writing about Sikkim, but I didnt visit that part of the state at all.. we stayed at Baiguney and visited a bit of West Sikkim, then headed to Gangtok and did a bit of sightseeing thats all.. you seem have done a good tour of north sikkim, and the photos are beautiful! hope i can do that some other time.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

The Havelis of Bikaner - A Photo Post

The lanes are narrow , twisting and turning amidst buildings old and new. Crumbling old structures with intricate workmanship stand side by side with art deco buildings, and more modern constructions, which follow no particular style. Autos, bicycles, motorcycles and vans rush past, blowing their horns as loudly as possible, while cows saunter past peacefully, completely unaffected by the noise. In the midst of all this chaos, children play by the side, and women go about their chores, as we explore these by-lanes of Bikaner, and its beautiful Havelis. Facade of one of the Rampuria Havelis

Kabini Part 3 - After the Rains

Visiting Kabini in peak summer, we hadn’t bargained for the rains, which dominated our three days at the Lodge. While animal sightings were understandably lesser than usual, seeing the forest in the rain was an interesting experience in its own way. However, as we headed back into the forest for our second and third safaris, we hoped the rains would let up, and allow us to see more animals! Winding jungle paths

Kabini Part 2 - A Boat Ride

The river Kabini is the heart of the Nagarhole National park, and a boat ride on the river is an integral part of the stay at the Kabini River Lodge. The incessant, unseasonal rainfall had marked our stay so far, and heading to the jetty for our boat ride on our second evening at the lodge, we kept our fingers crossed, hoping for clear skies.  The Jetty... at the Kabini River Lodge