THE HIMALAYAN MONASTERY

The Beautiful and Amazing Hemis Monastery is hidden within the folds of the Himalayas , 40 kms from Leh in Ladakh, India.

Am sharing snippets of the  Awesome Hemis Monastery and the surroundings through pictures in a series of blogs.

You can check out http://www.drukpa-hemis.org for details on this Monastery and thus shall not repeat the same.

The featured Image and the picture below  are the first glimpses of the Hemis Monastery ( building in yellow) which is discretely located and practically invisible till you are literally at it’s doorstep.

hidden in the hills
Hidden in the Lap of the Himalayas

This picture was taken from the main courtyard of the Monastery where the Winter Hemis Festival is held  annually in February.

It is only now I realize the colour yellow is from the silken banners.

from within
Reach out and touch the Himalayas

Beautifully integrated into the landscape, the construction can be a lesson for modern architects.

behold
Behold  the Beauty

The Hemis Monstery is located at a Height of 13000 feet and does leave you gasping for breath in awe.

AMAZING WOMEN

Behold the Amazing Turquoise Attire of these Women of Ladakh.

These Amazing Ladies in  Traditional Dresses were Photographed during the Winter Hemis Festival at Shrey, Ladakh in February.

rear view
Absolutely Gorgeous Rear View of The Turquoise Headgear

The Ladies are carrying Gifts for His Holiness , the Spiritual Head of The Hemis Monastery in Ladakh.

the face
Happy adorning the Magnificent Headgear

A fascinating expression of faith can be witnessed during the Winter Hemis Festival when devotees line up in hundreds to Offer Gifts to their Spiritual Leader His Holiness and be blessed by him.

gifts for his holiness
Beautiful and Happy Faces

Is it a coincidence that today also happens to be Women’s Day ( 8th of March 2016) ?

FOOD FOR THE GODS

Mountains of Food resembling the Himalayan Hills in the background were lined up before His Holiness during the Winter Festival at Rancho School,Shrey, Ladakh. ( do read the previous blogs titled EMPTINESS,SEA OF MAROON and THREE IDIOTS)

juices

Banner reads”Live To Rejoice”

The Food was Blessed by the Spiritual Leader His Holiness and then distributed amongst the Devotees at the End of Each Day.

piled high
Unique Bread baked in Ladakh

Many Monks were seated on the Dias and chanted from Buddhist scriptures. Mountains of Biscuits and Food are Piled Up High in front of them.

monks
Praying with Food

Graceful Dance  performed before His Holiness, the Spiritual Leader of the Hemis Monastery, seated on a High Pedestal.

The entire festivities are part of the Birthday Celebrations of His Holiness.

food
The Nuns dance around Food in front of His Holiness

The attire and form of Worship are Unique to the region and has probably mutated over centuries to adapt to the way of Life in Ladakh.

FROZEN

The Frozen Ice on the Bucket Chairs outside the CHARMING LEH AIRPORT ( please do check a previous blog thus titled for continuity) were a clear Sign of the sub zero temperatures in Leh, Ladakh during the Winters.

Barren Hills and Poplar Trees overlook a Ladhaki Home adorned with fluttering Buddhist Prayer Flags.

The Rays of the Sun at an high altitude are Welcoming and  Intense as they keep you warm and comfortable.

home and hills
A Home in Leh, Ladakh

Thick layers of Grass are stacked on rooftops so that the Homes remain warm once the Sun Sets and temperatures dip to minus twenty or thirty degrees centigrade during the winters in Ladakh.

 

grass on roofs
Grass acts as a Bio Insulater

The Cows in the region are small and of  have a dense fur to keep them warm. The Magpie glistens in the Sun and finds food amongst  Heaps of Snow.

Picture was taken outside the entrance to our Hotel Mahey Retreat in Leh, Ladakh, Jammu& Kashmir, India.

Mud Packed stone walls are a great ecological alternative to Cement and Bricks.

snow and cows
Snow, MagPie and Cow

A Quiet peaceful alley lined with Snow is the Hallmark of Leh during the Winters.

 

snow on alley
A quiet alley lined with Snow

Remain aboard as I keep unraveling the telltale Signs captured by the camera at the Charming Leh Airport.

THE EYE

The metamorphosis of India was thoroughly apparent at the recently concluded India Design 2016 Fair held at NSIC, Okhla, New Delhi.

Here are some glimpses.

the india design fair
Innovative Outdoor Furniture at the Entrance

Installations in Metal caught my EYE.

The Gigantic metal Ball was probably filled with Inert Gases like Helium as it was afloat and kept chained to the Ground.Symbolic?

Metal and Glass have transformed not only architecture but interiors as well.

metallic trees and balls
Similar to the leafless tree in the background?

Ivy Concepts showcased Bling and influences of the Far East in unveiling their New Home Collections.

Indian Homes are changing Fast.

ivy cocepts
Bling enters Homes

The Traditional art of Indian embroidery “Zardozi” is  kept alive though the designs are now no longer as in the past.

The young boy is embroidering an OWL using Golden sequins as an interested passerby captures him on her Iphone.

owl in progress
A live  demonstration of embroidery skills at THE INDIA DESIGN fair  

The featured image caught my EYE as it reminded me of THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

Am sure die hard fans will recognize the similarity as well. Looking forward to some comments.

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Treat yourselves to this secretive getaway  NAZAR BAGH near Jaipur.

A view of Nature FOR YOUR EYES ONLY.

The write up will be updated in a while. All Good things take time, so hold your breath as I will unveil this treasure in the midst of Rajasthan, India.

Nazarbagh is located in the pristine rural countryside of Rajasthan about 5.5 kms  off the Jaipur-Ajmer Highway at Jaisinghpura.

It is strongly recommended to walk the  the last mile if you wish to be soaked in the Enchanting countryside that encompasses this discretely located Palace.

The picture below reveals the unique  lansdscape of the region with interesting Shrubs and biodiversity unique to the arid lands of Rajasthan.

glimpse of nazarbagh
Through the eyes of Sheep and Goats

Luxurious and plush Nazarbagh is unveiled  through Trees and the bounty of Nature that surround this Palace.

A lovely Lily ( commonly and incorrectly refered to as  Lotus)  Pond surrounded by Flower beds ( do see the blog titled ICE DAISY at http://www.enchantedforests.wordpress.com and Trees far in the Horizon soothe your eyes.

view from the porch

A view through graceful arches at the Porch

For me Nature leaves signs to show if an area ,home or Palace is conducive to human well being.

If Birds , bees and butterflies inhabit a region it indicates that all is in harmony with Nature. Nazarbagh gets a big approval as it is located in the lap of Nature.

See the picture below which reveals a Bird’s Nest seen from the amazing marbled Verandahs of the Palace.

trees throught the archways

A Birds Nest

The lovely Rooftops with the typical signature  Chatris ( literal translation is an Umbrella) reveal two contrasting countrysides.

One is Green till as far as the Nazar ( eyes) goes and showcases Golden Fields ( do read the blog at http://www.enchantedforests.worpress.com) and Carpets of White Flowers ( Calendulas)

 

fields on the left
Fields of Flowers and a Solitary Leafless Kejri Tree

As you shift your Glance  you will be fascinated by an arid and parched land along with an ancient River Bed which would have been the Original Landscape prior to the Introduction of Water through modern Irrigation methods.

The Flora and Fauna in both both the Green and Brown Lands would be interesting to compare and detail.

I did hear the  tell tale bird calls of the Partridges ( English), Teetar ( Hindi)  or Grey francolins ( Scientific Name) at Nazarbagh.

a river dried up
An ancient river bed and arid brown lands

As we descend from the Rooftops adorned by Chattris and walk around the Sprawling Green Periphery of the Palace am spellbound by the Avenue of  Neem  ( Scientific Name Azadirachta Indica) trees.

Neem is an endemic tree native to India which works as a natural Bio filter of Air as well besides having numerous Germicide properties.

neem lined avenues
Neem Lined Avenues

Nazarbagh Palace was a wonderful date with Nature , away  from the crowds that thronged the Jaipur Literature Festival at Jaipur.

ARTISTIC TUK TUKS

The  Jaipur Literature Festival ( JLF) is a wonderful combination of Art ,Culture and Literature.

Held annually in January at the historical Diggi Palace it is a fantastic meeting point of Literary minds from across the World.

Jaipur is undergoing a change and this was evident from the  Pop Art AutoRisckshaws or Tuk Tuks on display at the entrance to the JLF.

auto black and white
Black and White Alphabets

Reflecting the Fauna ,Flora and daily life of the colourful state of Rajasthan, the Autos are  shedding  their mundane Black and Yellow robes they have donned for decades.

Do notice the Policemen in their Khakhi Uniforms inside the Tuk Tuks.

auto with elephant
Colourful Elephants and Khakhi

A front view labels these “Artistic Autos” as works of CARTISTS.

For readers who cannot read the Devnagiri Script in Red on Top I translate, it reads “The Car of S.V.P.S” . SVPS is the acronym for the name of the owner or the driver.

auto and red elephants
Front View of The Elephant Auto

In most parts of India the shortened “Auto” means an AutoRickshaw or Tuk Tuk.

The phrase Tuk Tuk is not commonly used in India  to refer to the AutoRickshaws.

In evolving Jaipur ( also called Pink City), do see the background in the picture below , the walls are Pink, there is now an Online service called “JUGNU “to book these Artistic Autos. 

So next time you are in Jaipur, download the “App” and book your “Jugnu”. Jugnu incidentally is the Hindi name for a Firefly.

auto with camels and cows
Cows and Camels adorn this Tuk Tuk or AutoRickshaw

I hope you enjoyed the Artistic Tuk Tuk as much as I did in observing them across the Pink City.

 

 

THE ARTISAN

The featured image shows the beautiful Spinning wheel with a wooden Parrot and the omnipresent and multipurpose utensil Lota ( do read my blog  http:.//travelwithmukul.wordpress.com titled LOTA).

The weaving artisans of Rajasthan convert the fluffy cotton snow balls into beautiful pieces of textile or art.

brilliant colours
A blast of colour woven by the magical Artisans

Pictures of the master crafstman  were taken near the village of Ranaser near Kichan , Rajasthan.

He sets up the spinning wheel and warping machine in his courtyard to take advantage of the glorious Winter Sun.

the spinning wheel
Getting Organized

The cotton is dyed into colours and then woven into fabric on this PitLoom. Observe the beautiful rope in the foreground.

pitloom
The Pit loom

The Lovely Eco friendly Barn and Home made from twigs and mud.

the eco friendly home
Organic Home and Barn

The Weaver or Artisan above lives in the harsh and arid Desert of Rajasthan located between Phalodi and Jodhpur .

THE MANDOR LOTUSES

The Mandor Gardens are home not only to Beautiful Monuments ( do see my previous blogs Magnificent Mandor and Amazing Mandor ) but to these gorgeous flowers as well.

An Egret in flight  and Water Hen ( foreground)  share space with these wondrous flowers which inhabit the waterways at The Mandor Gardens.

waterhen and egret in flight
The Lotus Waterways of Mandor

A close up reveals the Dinner Plate sized leaves which provide shelter to Fish and other aquatic animals.

They in turn attract water birds like Egrets and Herons for whom they are  food under the dinner plate.

The Flowers rise above the water levels with the rising Sun. One lotus is still struggling to make space for itself.

baby pink.jpg
Baby Pink Lotuses

This architects of the past were probably inspired by the Lotus while creating this memorial to the Kings and Queens of Marwar.

the inverted lotus
Mandor architecture Inspired by the Lotus

Besides the baby Pink Lotuses there are many which are Purely White and have not even a tinge of Pink.

water hen and lotuses
Snow White Lotuses

The buds of the Lotus emerge from the water supported by sinuous stalks and bloom as the Sun rises.

the bud amongst leaves
A Solitary Bud

This post was created at the request of a fellow blogger.Thus keep sending your views as the interaction inspires to seek and search for beauty in our surroundings.