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.
India is indeed a mysterious country with folklore, myths and history so intricately intertwined , it’s hard to extract one from the other.
Bhojpur is the tiniest of villages located 30 kms from Bhopal, the Capital of Madhya Pradesh . A landlocked state located in the heart of India, it is home to many secrets from the past.
Bhojpur was founded by Raja Bhoj in the early 11th century.
Sinhasana Battisi, a famous composition and literary masterpiece of 32 yoginis ( angels) was composed in this area itself.
Ashapuri or the city of hope is about 6 kms from Bhojpur and is home to a vast array of temples, Hindu, Jain and Buddhist.
The region is unexplored and can be a delight for any curious traveler, mythologist or historian.
An enormous incomplete temple looms over its landscape.Each stone used to build this colossal structure weighs about 70 tonnes each.
While I have given you a glimpse of this gorgeous marvel of architecture built about 1500 years in another article. Today I shall play the role of an archaeologist to unravel the mysteries of Bhojpur.
This site is off the tourist map and a site visited by but a few. As you can see the temple is INCOMPLETE. The spire or the typical pyramid on top is missing? It was never built, and has remained so for 1500 years.
The mammoth scale represents the pinnacle of Temple Architecture of 11th century India.
The Bholeshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Bhojpur was once the capital of the vast empire of Raja Bhoj who ruled this kingdom in the 11th Century AD.
It lies on the banks of the river Betwa which goes all the way to Orchha, another must see historical and quaint town in Madhya Pradesh.
The construction of the temple was started by the illustrious KING BHOJ ( the airport at Bhopal is named after him) , who ruled the area known as Malwa.
His dynasty, the Paramaras ruled Malwa for close to 3 centuries.
It is said that he was stricken by an incurable disease. A sage advised him to construct a lake fed by 365 springs ( one for each day of the year) . It is said Raja Bhoj was an accomplished engineer and astrologer as well.
Bhojpur was the site of this lake , nestled between hills and made by creating a unique dam across the river Betwa. A dip in this man made lake cured the King of his ailments.
The lake however has dried up ( or was drained out) over time leaving only the Incomplete temple as a witness.The temple was the Thanksgiving of Raja Bhoj.
The grateful King wished to complete a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in gratitude for being cured of his ailments.
Was it an earthquake which destroyed the temple? A visit to neighboring Ashapuri points to this possibility.
The thanksgiving continues to date as the gong rings calling the faithful to prayer.
It is a unique site, where you can see the plans of a mammoth proposed temple complex etched in stone. Drawings and etchings made 11 centuries ago can still be seen to the north west of the temple.
The sound of the conch shell takes you through a time warp when gigantic stones weighing 70 tonnes were taken along a ramp and placed according to a meticulous plan. The ramp exists to date.
Did invading armies prevent the completion of the temple?
It is fabled the temples were constructed with assistance from the Chola Kings of the south. The Chola kings worshipped Lord Shiva a swell.
What prevented the completion of the temple, were no funds sanctioned by the rulers after 1085 A.D.?
The Largest Shivling in the world rises 22 feet ( 7m) from base to the top.
Bholeshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, built by Raja Bhoj ( 1010-1058 AD) was his thanksgiving for being cured from his ailments.
It symbolized the ingenuity of and the prosperity of his kingdom as it overlooked a 450 sq km man made BHOJPUR TAAL.( lake) .
Over time it has also acquired the name SOMNATH OF THE NORTH.
The Shivling itself is made from a single stone and is about 2 mtr in height.
It was damaged as the central dome collapsed breaking the Shivling into two. The polish on the sandstone is dazzling to date .
Fables of this mighty ruler reached every corner of the Land bringing the best crafstman under his command.
A treatise on Architecure, Samarangana Sutradhara was authored by Raja Bhoj alongwith 84 other books on a vast spectrum of subjects including Medicine & Chemistry.
The blueprints of the temple can be seen even today , etched in stone, yet the temple was left incomplete ? Did the architects mess it up?
There is a story from the Mahabartaha ( 1500- 2000Bc) that Karna ( son of the Sun) was left in this very river by his unwed mother Kunti.
The incomplete temple brings to life folklore, fables and legends.
Lets travel to discover more of this amazing land.
As mentioned before the Sinhasta Kumbh takes place at two places. We have already been to Ram Kund at Nashik. The second part takes place at the Kushavarta Kund in Trymbakehwar.( 30 kms from Nashik) .
Trymbakeshwar is nestled in the Sahydiri Hills on the Brahmagiri mountain.The names of the hills and the region are a fountainhead of numerous mythical tales.
The hills of the Western ghats are the catchment area for the rivers Krishna and Godavri .
The revered river Godavri ( also called the Ganges of the south) originates from the Brahmgiri hills, trickles into the Kushvarta Kund , goes onto the Ram Kund and then joins the sea in the Bay of bengal.
Trymbakeshwar is one of the twelve Jyotirlings, of which I will write in detail later.Have written on a few Jyotirlings before as well.Have personally been to Eight of the twelve.
It reads JYOTIRLING: SHRI TRYMBAKESHWAR TEMPLE . We had been forewarned of a waiting period extending to several hours before you could enter the main temple.
However the Lord himself had cleared the path and we were inside the sanctum sanctorum within a few minutes. It’s a gorgeous temple with antiquity written on every stone.
A wall painting spotted outside a wall adjoining the temple depicts Lord Shiva.
Nature is an intrinsic part of Hindu mythology and folklore. Trees and animals are protected by the hand of God.
The location of ancient temples like Trymbakeshwar in catchment areas ensures the survival of rivers as well. Ancient folklore and myth entwined with religion are a guarantee that the environment is protected.
The area has the highest precipitation in the region and it was pouring on the day we went as well. Do observe the pictures well and you will see the clouds had descended to ground level.
An intrinsic part of a Kumbh is the process of taking a dip in the holy waters.
You hold your nose and squat ensuring the water covers your head. This is the process of Atonement or cleansing the sins of the past.
Lord Shiva is represented in the form of a Shivling. Milk and water is poured on the Shivling in a process called Abhishek or coronation.
The Kushvarta pond is surrounded on three sides by these halls you see in the picture which have the most amazing statues of the Hindu pantheon of Gods.
The Peshwas , the rulers of the region, had these aesthetically designed temples and halls constructed 600 years ago, which are used to date
It is possible you miss this statue of Lord Vishnu , it is from here where the River Godavri originates.
I was lucky to witness this amazing sight as well.The cow is licking the statue.Have never seen such a sight in 51 years of my life.
The author in traditional attire getting a ‘tilak’ on the forehead.
I am aware have used a large number of words and names which make the head of many spin. Relax, email me if you want to know more or simply enjoy the scenic beauty of TRYMBAKESHWAR.