Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Destination Thiksey

Om mani padme hum - Though i have heard this chant many a times at home , I had to Google the meaning as i sat down to write this blog. Why are some of us restricted by money and time that we don't sit down and reflect the memorable moments during the journey. Maybe recollecting it later and writing about it is a good way to relive the emotions and the moments. So i guess i am doing the right thing.

In between the different pit stop , we spent a tranquil dawn at Thiksey monastery which is about 19kms from leh. The pre dawn wake up call was to be part of monastery's morning prayers . The drive through the Indus valley plains as the sun was peeping out was enough to drive the slumberness away. As we approached the monastery the size became apparent. The architecture with its vibrant colors became one with its surroundings. Why don't the modern buildings give us the same feeling. The stepped architecture came hand in hand with steps, lots of steps. You think you reached the destination and behold in front of you there are more steps. The thin mountain air only made it better. Maybe I criticized modern architecture in haste. I certainly don't mind the escalators and the super fast lift that takes you high up into the sky.

I wish i could say the huffing and puffing disappeared as we approached the assembly hall and fell upon monks aged 3-12 chant prayers before entering the hall. That certainly was not the case. Though the monks were adorable in their attire ,  heavenly in their rendition of chant, it took me more than a few minutes to get back my senses as we settled down in the assembly hall. Rows of monk aged from 3/4 to maybe 80/85 years old chanting and performing their rituals was an amazing sight to my sleepy eyes. I wish somebody explained what was happening. The monk were served some kind of concoction as they were chanting. What was the significance of this ritual or was it their breakfast? Back to Google! Google Baba's first page didn't give me any answer. But one of the images made me recall that we climbed up all the way to the roof of the hall before the prayers started to be part of ritual wherein monks invoked good energy and announced the start of prayer with their conch facing the four directions. Again Google baba did not give me the name of the instrument. Is baba having a bad day? Or maybe I was a lazy indifferent tourist who was'nt eager for more information the day I visited Thiksey. I guess it is the later.

One of the thoughts that ran through my mind as we went through the monastery was about the very young monks. Wonder how they leave behind their family at such a young age. What drives them to lead a life of austerity. Where does this kind of intense devotion take them as they grow older. As these thought were running in my mind while climbing down, i spotted magpies. The shallow me pushed aside these thoughts and the need to capture these birds overtook everything else. Yeah the shallow shallow me!

Praise to the jewel in lotus!

Date : June 2013
Place : Thiksey Monastery, ladakh

Tip : Stay in the monastery!
First : Buddhist morning prayer!
The travel connection :  Spiritual connection!

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