Children are always charming and in Ladakh the Charm is heightened to the Power of Infinity.
Do read up the blog titled “The 3 Idiots” on the Rancho School located near Leh,Ladakh.
This sweet charming kid rests against a colourful wall in the Monastery . His expression changed once he became aware of the camera.
The Coy Girl was shy and kept covering her face with the white stole till patience paid off and I captured this image within the Hemis Monastery outside the Upper Residence of His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa.
This charming and extremely young Buddhist Child is on his way to becoming a Monk.
I was fortunate to sit amongst children near Leh, Ladakh and capture some delightful moments which I am sharing in this blog.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the first blog on Leh, Ladakh titled CHARMING LEH AIRPORT, I had mentioned certain signs which forecast what was to be unveiled in the hours and days to follow.
The posts SIGNS OF BUDDHA , EMPTINESS and FROZEN unraveled Three such Symbols, this post is the fourth in the series.
On reaching the Naropa Temple ( Famous for the Hemis Festival or Kumbh of the Himalayas) and the Rancho School ( made famous by the Bollywood movie 3 Idiots) at Shrey, Ladakh I was greeted with a SEA of MAROON.
Buddhist Devotees draped in shades of Maroon had reached Shrey in thousands to celebrate the Birthday of His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa.
An Awesome and Stunning Gate crowned by two Dragons around the Buddhist Circle of Dharma . Unfortunately my illiteracy prevents me from reading the script on the Golden Gate.
The Grey Wall is the Boundary between the NaropaTemple and the famous Rancho School. Both of which are managed by the Hemis Monastery which in turn is headed by the Spiritual Leader His Holiness of Drukpa Lineage.
The Himalayas look upon the Celebrations taking place in the valley below. The Birthday Celebrations coincide with the Winter Festival held at the Hemis Monastery.
The Dragon Flag is the Symbol of the Hemis Monastery
Devotion and Faith help thousands of Monks and Devotees brave the Icy Chill of Winters at Ladakh as they sit in the open , under the gaze of the snow capped Himalayas, listening to their Spiritual Leader His Holiness the G. Drukpa .
Despite an extremely hard and tough life all you see in Ladakh are Happy and Cheerful Faces.
Was the Secret of Happiness their faith in Tibetan Buddhism or the Colour Maroon they adorned , or both ?
If you recall the initial picture in the CHARMING LEH AIRPORT showcases cheerful Buddhist Monks in Robes of Maroon greeting us.
Who says you cannot see the Future ? Travel with Mukul and Behold the Faithful.
Osian, is the tiniest of Dots in the heart of a Desert District of Rajasthan, India.
Located about 65 kms from Jodhpur , Osian is a tiny tot of a town, nay overgrown village, now famous due to the discovery of spectacular Hindu and Jain temples from the 8th Century A.D.
Repeated Invasions from Central India from 12th century onwards laid to waste the once thriving centre of trade and the temples were forgotten in the dust of time.
When you drive along the Highway from Jodhpur to Kichan ( do read my blog THE WINTER GUESTS and A FEAST) you will see many temples still in a state of ruin, see the picture below.
I strongly recommend you take 1-3 hours off your hectic schedules when you visit Jodhpur or Jaisalmer and have look at these Amazing beauties cast in Stone.
The exquisitely carved spire of the Main Temple is dedicated to Sachya Mata , who is worshipped by all communities in the region.
Do observe the gorgeous Lord Ganesha statue in the foreground.
The Sudarshan Chakra ( or the Wheel of Time) atop one of the intricate Temple spires clearly indicates the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
The Vishnu Temple is adorned with amazing Sculptures depicting various Mythological Tales from ancient Sanskrit scriptures.
Unfortunately invaders from Central Asia during the 12th Century have mutilated a majority of the fascinating sculptures.
The detailed and magnificent Central sculpture depicts the story of Lord Narsimhan ( A Lion Headed Avatar of Lord Vishnu) who brings and end to the Demon Hrinyakshyap by placing him on his thighs and disemboweling him. ( do read the entire fascinating story laden with symbolism and messages) .
It marks the End of Evil and Victory of Good.
The featured Image has two striking Symbols which indicate to whom the temple is dedicated to, one is the Lion and second is the Trishul or the trident.
The Lion is the vehicle of Goddess Parvati who is the consort of Lord Shiva ( bearer of the Trishul)
Osian has a vast library of outstanding temples and sculptures, each of which reveals the mysteries of the past and the Glorious skills of Medieval India.
Hidden in the midst of skyscrapers of this chic and upscale locality ( Malabar Hill ) in Mumbai (Bombay) is a well hidden secret, the holy Baanganga Tank.
Walking through narrow lanes you are transported back in time.The picture below showcases the ancient and the modern.
Within but a few hundred metres from the salty waters of the sea , the water of the tank is mysteriously sweet.
Embalmed in the fables of Ancient India , the history of the tank goes back to the time of the Ramayan ( the immortal Epic of India) ie. about 4000 BC.( time period is not ascertained to date , some fix it at 2500 BC) .
Within a few days of writing this post all of India will erupt into celebration and the story of the Ramayan will be reenacted across the length and breadth of this country.
In the quest for his consort Sita, Lord Rama and his brother Lakshman reach the top of the Malabar Hill at the site where the Baanganga tank now exists. Lord Rama asks his brother for water, who releases an arrow ( a baan in hindi) from his bow. The arrow releases the sweet water of the underground river Ganga, called Bhogvati.
The twin towers ( do not mix with the Lord of the Rings) are the entrance to the Baanganga tank. The towers reflect the unique architecture of the Marathas and are in fact oil lamps.
The Baanganaga tank is today part of the Walkeshwar Temple Complex.
It is today a site of pilgrimage and many immerse the ashes of the departed in the tank.
The area is extremely interesting as it tells the story of Mumbai and the various communities who inhabit this region even today.
An elderly lady looks out from the window of her terracotta tiled roof home,as pedestrians walk by the Peepal Tree little realizing they are walking through History.
Lord Rama created a Shivling from the sand of the Baanganga and offered his respects. Sand is called Waluk in the local language and Ishwar is God , hence the name Walkeshwar.
Many residents living in the posh Walkeshwar Area of Mumbai today are probably unaware of this legend.
A hen pays obeisance to Lord Shiva. ( Shivling in the centre)
The vast sweet water tank is now surrounded by skyscrapers all around.It is fed by an underwater stream.
Numerous priests were offering prayers around this vast tank during the time I took these pictures from my mobile.
Swans and ducks ( white specks in the picture below) swim gracefully near the trees.
The enormous Baanganga Tank in the heart of Mumbai
I strongly recommend a walk through these parts after reading about the History of Mumbai. A metal plaque at the entrance of the tank details the history and layout of the Baanganga region.
Thank you Vivek and Arpita for unraveling this secret destination.
There is another legend of the Baanganga in the Himalayas near the famous Vaishnodevi temple in Jammu & Kashmir. But that is another story…