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Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

Navaratri 2015 : North, South, East and West - All at home in Chembur

Happy Vijayadasami / Dusshera / Dasara everyone!!! 

It has been an eventful Navaratri, starting with the creative satisfaction of setting up our own Kolu after years, to visiting friends and relatives, and of course, temples. The festival winds up today, and as we celebrate the destruction of evil, let me give you a glimpse of the different celebrations I have been able to attend - all within a short distance of my home!





Let me begin with the Mariamman temple in our colony. Mariamman is a form of the goddess worshipped all over Tamil Nadu. Every small village will have a shrine dedicated to her. She is a form of Parvati, of Durga, and Kali. She is mother nature, who bestows us with everything we need, but she also needs to be worshipped so that she doesnt show us her darker side, of drought, famine, or flood. Here she is, all decorated for the evening puja...



The temple also has an elaborate Kolu, and here it is.... 



And here is a closer look at some of the dolls in the kolu...

Ganesha as Ardhanareeshwara! 

Ganesha again, seated on the crescent moon, with Lakshmi and Saraswati on either side



Lakshmi-Hayagriva, and Hayagriva
That was the typical South Indian Navaratri celebration.

Heading over to Gandhi Maidan, the North Indian celebration of Ramleela is in full swing every evening. Here is Ravan, all set to be burnt in the grand finale, tonight! 





A little further along the same road is a simple, yet beautiful Durga, a typically Maharashtrian celebration. We, are in the western part of the country after all! 




Finally, a short walk away is the Bengali Durga Puja, something we look forward to, every year. This year, they have replicated the Mumbai Municipal Corporation building...







and inside, here she is....





Women apply Sindur to Her, as well as to each other, a celebration called Sindur Khela. 

And this is why I love festivals... for the sheer variety we see around us, and yet, they are all, intrinsically, the same. All celebrate the triumph of good over evil. 

In the present day, evil isn't as apparent, as obvious, as our myths tell us, or as these rituals depict them. There is no Mahishasura, showing himself as a demon, or a Ravana, with his ten heads. Evil is no longer in appearance, but in thought, and exists within all of us. This Dusshera, as we burn effigies of Ravana, sing songs of the triumph of the goddess, let us pray to the Lord to destroy our negative thoughts and make us more tolerant, for it is in tolerance that lies lasting peace. 



Comments

  1. Wise words about negativity and tolerance, Anu! I only hope that others come to realize the same thing.

    I am glad that you got so much enjoyment from Navaratri this year, and shared all the wonderful displays, both personal and public, with us so that we could enjoy them too.

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