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.
The Beautifully landscaped Highway from Noida ( an industrial suburb of New Delhi, India) to Greater Noida is a Classic Example of an Urban Forest amongst Skyscrapers and Industrial Factories.
Announcing the arrival of Basant Panchmi( Spring) are these Clusters of Jewels which adorn the leafless Trees of the Indian Coral Tree ( English), Parijat ( Hindi) ,Erythrina indica ( Scientific Name).
Native to India , The Indian Coral Tree belongs to the Pea family or Fabaceae.
Adorning the ends of each twig are these brightly Coral coloured blossoms which contrast beautifully against their leafless branches.
As the seasons change , new leaves will sprout on the deciduous branches of The Indian Coral Tree.
The Inflorescence is a cluster of Brightly Coral coloured Blossoms each of which flexes its spine and Curves upwards towards the Blue Skies and the Sun.
Do the Jewels resemble a Tiger’s Claw??
The Corals are not unprotected as they have sharp spiny thorns along the branches.
Is the Tree called The Tiger Claw because of the beautiful Blossoms or the Spiny thorns, both of which resemble the Curved Claws of a Tiger ?
If you live in the vicinity of New Delhi or are visiting, be Enchanted and take the Slow lane on the Highway to Greater Noida .
Be Witness to these Jewels amongst the Trees, which are adorning The Indian Coral Tree this February.
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.
The India Art Fair is annually held in January at the NSIC grounds, Okhla in New Delhi.
It was an amazing opportunity to see some fabulous works of Art brought together under one Roof.
The threads that bind the four works of art selected by me for this blog are:
The Artists of all the paintings are Anonymous.
They are all almost 200 years old dating to the 19th Century.
All of them are expressions of Faith and reveal tales from Hindu Mythology.
The Colourful and detailed featured Image of Maa Durga ending the terror of the Rakshas ( Demon) Mahishasur portrays so many symbols and tales that it would take me years to understand and pen them down.
The large almond shaped eyes are a signature of the artists of Bengal and Maa Durga is portrayed as such to date.
The painting below beautifully illustrates Lord Shiva with his wife Parvati seated on their vehicle the Bull, Nandi. Mount Kailash in the the Himalayas is his fabled abode which is depicted in the picture below.
An unusual potrayal of Goddess Parvati depicted as Mother with her younger son Lord Ganesha.
The crown in the painting seems to be an influence from the Mughal Period and is repeated in all the pictures above as well.
Maa Durga is an incarnation of Goddess Paravati who assumes a Fierce and Powerful form armed with various weapons to end the Evil of the Demon Mahishasura.
Symbolism and Philosophy is deeply entrenched in all the depictions and portrayals in the paintings.
The painting of the Goddess Saraswati below is distinctively different from those above.
The headgear and attire are more in tune with depictions from Southern India. The style was made extremely popular by the famous artist Raja Ravi Verma from Travancore ( now in modern day Kerala).
The attention to detail is simply mind blowing as the Jewellery is visible through the extremely fine and translucent Saree that drapes the Goddess of Wisdom.
The Veena ( musical instrument in her hands) , the string of White Pearls and the Vedas ( Holy Books ) symbolize the Goddess of Fine Arts and Knowledge.
All the paintings show the fascinating minds of the Anonymous Artists who have unfortunately been lost in the Mists of Time.