Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from July, 2015

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

Wandering Thoughts - Wildlife in the midst of Heritage

At the Masroor rock cut temples , while I was trying to identify all the deities, Samhith was busy elsewhere. He had spotted a lizard on one of the rocks, and spent the rest of his time trying to follow it, and see just how many there were! 

The Rock Cut Temples of Masroor

“Kehte hain, Pandavon ne yeh mandir banaya tha” (They say, that it was the Pandavas who built these temples), says the ASI guide, at the Rock Cut Cave Temples of Masroor. I look at him, askance, expecting a bit more information than that. “But some other king would have rebuilt the temples” I insist, trying not to override his mythological beliefs, hoping to get some historical information. He shrugs, clearly knowing nothing more, and turns instead to show us some of the depictions of deities he does know. My questions continue, and his confusion increases. “Are you studying these temples?” he asks, flicking looks between me and my son. “No, I just write about them” I reply, and he is satisfied. “Lots of people come here to study these temples and write about them. We are applying for UNESCO World Heritage Status” he adds proudly.

Faces in the Crowd - The man at ease, at Norbulingka

We were just entering the main complex at Norbulingka, when my eyes fell on this man....

Norbulingka Institute, Dharamsala

The reflection of the Tibetan styled building seemed to shimmer in the water – the vibrant reds a striking contrast against the greenery, and the blue of the sky. We had seen many such structures over the last few days at Dharamsala. Yet, this was an image that captured my attention. My camera didn’t seem to share my enthusiasm for the sight, but I persevered. And this is the best I was able to do…. Have I been able to capture the essence of the beauty I saw that day? It is for you to say.

Yellow Billed Blue Magpies

We first caught a brief glimpse of the bird at the Aghanjar Mahadev Temple. The temple had been disappointing, but the stream behind had more than made up for it. We were walking back to the car, when a harsh call and a flash of blue alerted us that there was a bird nearby. A big one. Gone were thoughts of getting back to the car and to our next destination. Samhith and I were completely focused on identifying the elusive bird. It took us a while to spot it properly, and when we did, I recognized it as the Yellow Billed Blue Magpie ! 

Heritage in the Wilderness

Nestled within a copse of towering Deodar trees , the Church of St. John in the wilderness stays true to its name. As we walk into the gates and approach the church from the busy road leading to McLeod Ganj, the silence is marked – a much needed respite from the honking of cars stuck in a traffic jam outside. The church comes into view, shadowed by the trees, lit by a few rays of light escaping the green canopy.

How to bathe a sheep - a step by step guide :D

Yes, you read that right. This post is indeed about bathing a sheep. Not elephants, which we travel far and wide and pay to bathe! Not cows and buffaloes which we see bathing everywhere! But this post is about sheep. Have you ever bathed a sheep or seen someone bathing a flock of sheep? We did, while roaming around Dharamsala. The sight was captivating enough to make us want to stop, much to the surprise of our driver! What was so interesting about it? First, that they were bathing sheep! Second, it seemed so well choreographed, such a part of their routine, that each sheep went through the same process to end up thoroughly bathed!! So, do you want to know how to bathe a sheep? Read on......