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.
Raipur Village in Pali District , Rajasthan is a small intriguing Village on way to becoming a tiny Town as it expands and merges with village Haripur (home to the fabulous Lakshman Sagar) . Raipur is located 90 kms from Ajmer, off a fabulous Highway .
Rajasthan is a lovely state which truly reflects the Heritage of a Royal Past.
The pictures that follow were taken in Raipur Fort Palace now located in the midst of the Raipur Village where the erstwhile Ruling Family resides todate.
Red is the Hallmark of this Royal Palace from where ,Once Upon a Time, Regal Diktats were issued and executed.
The first glimpse of the RegallyRed Archways to unfold from the bustling village street of Raipur.
The Main Entrance from the alleys of the Town-Village as it exists to date.
The Main Gate which leads to the courtyard and the numerous Palaces within the Raipur Fort complex.
You feel you have gone back in time, 400 years ago as you step into the main courtyard that leads to the various Palaces .
The Palace which is immediately behind the Royal Marble Throne.
This was a peak into one of the relatively unknown Royal Homes of Rajputana.
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.
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.
Beautifully integrated into the landscape, the construction can be a lesson for modern architects.
The Hemis Monstery is located at a Height of 13000 feet and does leave you gasping for breath in awe.
Travelling within India is like viewing a scene through a Kaleidoscope.
The sights and attire change dramatically as you move from Indian State to another.
Shifting from the Freezing Cold of Ladakh to Warm Rajasthan reveals Interesting Views taken from a moving car near Ajmer, Rajasthan.
The featured image captures an elderly Milkman with Beautiful Brass Utensils, pushing his Bicycle on a bridge.
His Splendid headgear called “SAAFA” or “PAGDI” is replicated by two of the Three Wise Men enjoying a cup of Tea . They are seated on a wooden bench besides a busy street. Do not miss the Handmade Leather Shoes called “JOOTIS“.
While the headgear remains Unchanged, the Bicycle has transformed into a Motorcycle alongwith one of the Brass Milk Containers into a lighter and larger Aluminium Container.
The Hand towel over the shoulder is a unique Multipurpose Garment much like a Fouta in Tunisia or Hammam Towel in Turkey.
The picture above was taken through the windshield of a Car and thus slightly milky.
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.
This statement is underlined and highlighted many times over at THE RANCHO SCHOOL at Shrey, Ladakh.
A huge blockbuster of a movie titled THE THREE IDIOTS highlights the creative educational practices followed at this Himalayan School in the desolate landscape of Ladakh.
The school is managed by the Hemis Monastery which was founded in the 11th Century. The Naropa Temple ( seen in the picture below from the Rancho School) is dedicated to Naropa, the founder of the Drukpa lineage of the Hemis Monastery.
The school was closed during the Winters when I happened to visit the Region.
The Rancho School Coffee Shop doubles up as a restaurant or Dining Area during the Winter Festival which coincides with the Birthday of His Holiness . ( do read the previous blog titled SEA OF MAROON)
The building blocks of the entire school are Locally available Stones and not Bricks.
The entire school premises are powered by Solar Energy .
The School is surrounded by the Lofty Himalayas , Buddhist Temples and Stupas.
The picture below was taken from one of the Hostels at Rancho School.
The Rancho School makes Movies come to Life.
Domestic tourism from other parts of India to Ladakh increased 500% after the movie rocketed to the top of the Charts.
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.