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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Quiet peaceful alley lined with Snow is the Hallmark of Leh during the Winters.
Remain aboard as I keep unraveling the telltale Signs captured by the camera at the Charming Leh Airport.
The ARDH KUMBH at Haridwar takes place once in 6 years and millions express their faith by thronging the banks for a dip in the Holy Ganges.
Hindu Mythology states that the Holy Ganges descended from Heaven into the flowing locks of Lord Shiva ( see the picture below) , from where the Goddess Ganga gently flows onto Planet Earth via the Himalayas.
A larger than life statue of Lord Shiva blesses all the pilgrims who arrive at Haridwar ( Doorway to the Lord)
The Aarti ( Prayers) to the The Goddess Ganga is held every evening at Har Ki Pauri, ( At the the feet of the Lord) , Haridwar.
However this evening is special as it on the eve of an Auspicious day ( Mauni Amavasya) when a dip in the Ganges is considered extremely beneficial.
The Faithful assemble in thousands along the banks of the Holy River eagerly awaiting the Sun to Set and the Aarti to commence.
The River shimmers in anticipation and the perceptible religious fervour reaches a climax as the lights are turned on and first of the Lamps are Lit.
The heat from the lamps warms my cheeks as the flames from the Oil Lamps reach the Black Skies and the mammoth crowds sing in Unison in praise of the Goddess Ganga under a Moonless Sky .
Lo, Behold the magnificent AARTI at the Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar, Utrrakhand, India.
The Ardh Kumbh has commenced at Haridwar and will continue till April 2016. It is an experience of a lifetime I would not wish to miss.
The mammoth crowd magically disappears within minutes of the conclusion of the Aarti at Har Ki Pauri, leaving the River alone to reflect the lights of the temples.
There is a website you can access to see the Auspicious dates or you can go on any suitable day to behold the spectacle at Haridwar.
Do watch the Power of Faith during the Ardh Kumbh.