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Showing posts from July, 2016

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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

Gwalior Part 1: The Colossal Jinas

To say that we were awed by Gwalior , would be putting it mildly.

Deo Bagh, Gwalior - The Neemrana Experience

I opened the door, shivering slightly as I felt the winter chill, despite my layers of clothing. A peacock ambled past, and I reached for my camera, all set to follow it, the cold completely forgotten. The peacock, however, was much quicker than me, and by the time I had carefully navigated the short stretch of lawn, it had disappeared into the bushes.  A peacock ambles past, least bothered by our presence I simply stood there, looking at the contrasting scene around – behind me was the neatly laid out garden, around it the quaint rooms which made up the hotel; and right in front of me was a wilder version, the grass and trees allowed to grow untamed, hiding behind them vestiges of history. “This is what the place would have once looked like” I thought, and felt rather glad that it had been allowed to remain the same. That was the moment I knew that I had made the right choice – that I was going to enjoy my stay, albeit a short one, at Deo Bagh, the Neemrana propert

Back after a long break

195 days .  That’s how long it is since I wrote my last post. In the 9 years that I have been blogging, I have taken breaks, but this is the longest I have ever been able to stay away. Usually, it is writers block which keeps me away, and the itch to write which brings me back. This time, however, has been different, which is also the reason it has taken me so long to get back. The year so far has been interesting, and eventful. The first half of the year kept me busy, first with a trip to Delhi, Gwalior, Orchha and Khajuraho, then my course in Indian Aesthetics from Jnanapravaha Mumbai, and finally, a trip down South, to Chennai, Madurai and Trichy. Returning from my trips, I had assignments to complete, and lots of pending work at home. Now that my course is over, as are the travels, and my son is busy with school work once again, I finally have time on hand. And so, here I am, back to blogging! While I think about what to write, and, more importantly, where to begin the