EMPTINESS

Ladakh has a unique barren and serene Landscape.

The region is classified as an High Altitude Desert or a Cold Desert.

The vast barren Vista compels you to look inwards.

Buddhism is a Way of Life in Ladakh and seems to blend in beautifully with the Barren, Simple and Tranquil surroundings.

gateway to buddha
Gateway to Buddha

A drive from Leh to Shrey ( a village which is home to Rancho School made famous by the Bollywood blockbuster 3 Idiots)  reveals the vast tracts of EMPTINESS.

the vast emptiness
To the Himalayas over tracts of NOTHINGNESS

There are kilometers of Land with nothing but Rocks and Barren Hills, a Land stripped Bare. An unusual but Divine Vista to behold.

An Emptiness that peers into your Soul within.

Flat roofed homes indicate that precipitation( rainfall) is rare or totally absent.

cold desert
Rocks strewn all over

A tiny tot of a  Buddhist temple breaks the monotony of the Brown Barren Himalayas laid bare by the powerful  Rays of the Sun.

Sunrays are intense in the high altitude  Air of Ladakh and quickly melt the Snow on the Hills exposed to the Sun.

barren hill and a small temple
Snow survives only in the Shadows

Temples and Monasteries are built on Hills and Hillocks and can be seen from miles all around.

The Pagoda style is Strangely seen only on Temples and not on Homes which are largely flat roofed.

I think I surprised the cyclist while taking this picture.

Temple on hill
A Temple in Ladhakh reminds me of a Lighthouse

Do read the earlier Blogs CHARMING LEH AIRPORT, SIGNS OF BUDDHA and FROZEN to connect to this absolutely mesmerizing region of India.

Stay on Board as we reach the now famous  RANCHO School to celebrate the Birthday of HIS HOLINESS. You will be swamped in a Sea of Maroon.

Watch out for the next post.

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CHARMING LEH AIRPORT

For me the first point of entry into Leh, Ladakh was the KBP Airport and there were many signs captured by the camera which foretold me of the sights to follow.

The Unique Blankets hung over doorways charmed me at the Airport. By the time I left I realized it was a practical Local way of retaining the Heat during the Bitterly Cold Winters of Leh.

airport at leh
Small Charming Airport at Leh

Volunteers from the Hemis Monastery welcomed us with White Silken Scarves. Theie gorgeous traditional woolen attire ensured they remain warm when temperatures fall to minus thirty degrees centigrade.

saropa and mountains
Traditional Welcome at the Airport

Ladakh is classified as a COLD DESERT as Rainfall is a Luxury. It falls in the rain shadow of the Lofty Himalayas ensuring Rain bearing Clouds seldom reach the region.

The result is a unique and stark Landscape bereft of even a blade of Grass as can be seen in the picture below taken at the Airport at Leh.

stark mountains at car park
Watching the International Borders

The temperature was minus Ten degrees Centigrade at 1000 hours when we landed. The frozen water on the chairs outside the airport bear testimony to the  statement above.

It was another sign that Ladakh will be Freezing Cold.

ice on chairs at airport
Brrr Freezing Cold

Having understood little of the signs and symbols at the time of arriving I now see in hindsight that many sights had already been foretold the moment I stepped out at the Airport at Leh.

 

car top
Off we go in the Powdered Sugar Car

Stay on Board as the Signs and symbols are unraveled as we travel through Ladakh.

INDIAN DESIGN

All the pictures showcase transformed Traditional Indian Articles or Symbols.

A visit to the India Design Fair held at Okhla , New Delhi showcased a bit of Traditional India in new robes. ( do check out my previous blog titled EYE)

These Lovely kettles in Copper  retain the the shape and look of a Tea Kettle you could spot on every Roadside in India. Keep your eyes peeled ?

copper kettles
Transforming Traditional Kettles

The Bed or Khattiya ( in Hindi) is a must in every Rural Home and Highway Dhaba in most parts of India.

khatiya
A traditional bed with a colourful Carper Design

The Hookah is used to smoke Tobacco and is an accent in the setting below to highlight the Rural Origins of the Colourful Transformed  Khattiya .

with hookah
Rural India’s tryst with Urban India

These Ceramic Containers called Amritbaan  ( in Hindi) were once a Must in every Home in India. They are primarily used to store Pickles and we still use them in my Home as well.

 

amritbaan
Traditional Containers for Pickles

On your travels look for Interesting shapes and articles you  find Unique to this amazing part of the Planet we call India.

JEWEL AMONGST TREES

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.

beauty along urban life
The Jewels Line the Highway to Greater Noida near New Delhi

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.

the tree
Indian Coral Trees

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 scarlet tree
Splendour of Coral Blossoms

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 blooms
Cluster of  Curved Coral Blooms

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 ?

tiger claws
The Jewels are protected by Spiny Tiger Claws

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.

 

ANONYMOUS

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:

  1. The Artists of all the paintings are Anonymous.
  2. They are all almost 200 years old dating to the 19th Century.
  3. 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.

lord shiva and maa parvati
Lord Shiva with his consort Goddess Parvati

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.

Maa and Ganeshji
Mother and Child

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.

 

Maa Saraswati
The Goddess of Knowledge , Maa Saraswati

All the paintings show the fascinating minds of the Anonymous Artists who have unfortunately been lost in the Mists of Time.

BIRDS VIEW

The beautiful and majestic Nazarbagh is nestled in the midst of Glorious fields of Gold and Silver.( do check out THE GOLDEN FIELDS and WHITE FIELDS at http://www.enchantedforests.wordpress.com)

A marvelous box of  treasure laden with Natural Beauty would describe Nazarbagh perfectly.

This Natural abundance is truly  experienced through the eyes of Birds. ( do read the previous blog titled FOR YOUR EYES ONLY)

Do observe the floral motifs and the trellis on the Red Sandstone Fence the Sparrow has posted itself upon. The Tree in the background gives it the surreal wings of a Peacock.

sparrow speaks
House Sparrow on the Floral Fence of the Terrace

Can you spot the little bird atop the turret of the Chattri ( canopy)  which overlooks the green horizons ?

birds view
The Highest Post

A tinge of red marks the Bougainvillea growing along the boundaries of Nazarbagh.

A Rock Pigeon takes shelter from the  Eyes of Predators that  rule the skies.

the pigeon on  the ramparts
Bird’s View

The marvelous polished marble floors of the Palace double up as a mirror for the Pigeon to gaze at it’s self.

the pigeons nazar
Narcissistic Reflections

 

Bask in the Glory of Nature at Nazarbagh next time you are in vicinity of Jaipur, Rajasthan.