A Monastery, the Indus & Me

Prologue

“If you are brave enough to say goodby, life will reward you with a new hello…” Paulo Coelho’s words were ringing like a bell in my thoughts. Mesmerized by the sheer Godliness of the Maitreya Buddha temple, I hardly had any words to express myself.

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The Maitreya Buddha

Probably I had surrendered my soul and feelings to the divine aura of the future Buddha. Bidding adieu to the temple left an aura of melancholy and blankness.

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Thiksey Monastery ..Fish Eye Shot

The Monastery continued to mesmerize – The Tara Temple

Well friends by now you must have linked this article with what I had shared with you all last week. The memory of the Thiksey Monastery is hard to be left behind. It was more than an overwhelming feeling. Yet again I stood awestruck the moment I entered the amazing Tara Temple.

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The Tara Temple

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The 21 idols of Goddess Tara

The temple looks more like a museum gallery containing 21 beautiful idols of Goddess Tara well preserved in glass-doored wooden shelves. The wooden panels are painted by exquisite colorful Tibetan abstract designs and frescoes that immediately catch your attention.

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The wonderful frescoes on the wooden panel

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The Tara Temple

The odour of long burnt incense sticks and the aura of serenity created a mesmerizing divine ambiance in the prayer hall. You certainly re-discover the peace of your mind, forget your woes and find an eternal calmness soothing you from inside.

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The Indus Valley..a Bird’s eye view from Thiksey Monastery

The Valley View Once Again

It was a special moment to behold the Indus valley view from the terrace of the Tara Temple. With the Maitreya Buddha Temple to my left and the gigantic snow clad mountains guarding the valley in the right, the entire panorama was beautifully canvassed.

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The Valley View Once Again

The serpentine Indus traversed right through the dull valley floor plugged by tinges of sparse greenery around it. I was trying to figure out which were the mountains we had climbed all the way down from Chang La.

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I was trying to locate the Chang La-Leh Road in the distant moutains

Were the avalanche filled Chang La-Leh road located on the huge grey mountains located on one of those tall mountains located at the far left end of the valley.

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The Maitreya Buddha Temple

Back to the Courtyard

It was now the time to explore the courtyard. The left and southern frontiers of the courtyard were guarded by wonderful galleries containing innumerable frescos of noted Buddhist scholars like Tsong Khapa, Padmasambhava, Palden Lhamo and Mahakala could be seen.

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View of the Maitreya Buddha Temple from the Courtyard

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The stunning arched gallery

Among these the fresco of Lord Buddha with two of his disciples caught my attention. The Lord is seated in padmasana on a lotus couch was holding a blue vase containing a beautiful pink lotus. His teachings and words of wisdom & knowledge seemed to mesmerize the known world from darkness and grief.

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The Fresco of Lord Buddha and his two disciples

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Scholars and teachers from the Nunnery

The other side of the courtyard lying to my right housed a beautiful gallery decorated by multi-colored wooden arches and red pillars. Scholars and teachers from the nunnery (community school) were discussing words of wisdom and enjoying the bright afternoon sun.

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The Courtyard

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On the way to the Assembly Hall

The Assembly Hall

My next destination was the yellow coloured mansion housing the assembly hall located on the far right end of the courtyard. I had to climb a fair number of stairs that led me to this large hall. Near to the entrance some amazing frescos caught my immediate attention.

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Bhavachakra – the “Wheel of Life”

These were none other than the Tibetan calendar and the Bhavachakra meaning the “Wheel of Life”. The centre of this wheel contains images of a snake, a bird and a pig signifying ignorance, attachment, and aversion. The wheel depicts various phases of the earthly pleasures in human life which are ultimately consumed by Time.

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Way to the Assembly Hall (View from Maitreya Buddha Temple)

The assembly hall consists of an inner temple or prayer hall containing the idols of Lord Buddha along with Manjushri to His right and Maitreya to the left. At the centre of the prayer hall the beautifully decorated throne of His Holiness Dalai Lama was placed along with those of other reputed Lamas.

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The spectacular vally view from the wooden balcony

The wooden balcony on the North-east side of the hall provided another amazing view of the Indus which I could hardly resist to capture in my lenses.

The Lamokhang Temple

The Lamokhang Temple was located at the topmost floor of the monastery. The temple contains rare collections of ancient Tibetan scriptures including those of Kangyur and Stangyur.

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View of the Indus Valley from the Monastery Roof

The Monastery Roof & the Indus

The essence of the serene beauty of the Indus in Ladakh would have remained unexplored if I wouldn’t have had stepped on to the roofs of the Thiksey monastery. It was a daring decision and the outcome was a lifelong memory I proudly cherish till date.

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Being at Thiksey Monastery Roof was an amazing experience

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The valley was spread out like an enigmatic panorama

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Vision of the Paradise

The entire valley was spread out like an enigmatic panorama. It was nothing less than the vision of the paradise that might have inspired many a poet. It made me cry. It made me restless. The spell was long until it was cut short by the sight of two beautifully designed golden pillars located on the eastern front of the roof.

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The monastery roof housed huge tonqin horns facing the valley

It was here, where the monastery roof housed huge tonqin horns facing the valley. Probably this was the place where an entire orchestra would be seated for playing traditional Tibetan music during festivals and religious occasions.

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A panoramic view of the Indus Valley from Thiksey Monastery Rooftop

On the other side, the mighty Indus like a giant serpent swirled its way down the valley sparkling and dancing in the broad daylight preaching its perpetual blue elegance.

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The magnificent Indus River

There was something gorgeous in its aura that took my breath. A chilled breeze from the snow clad mountains across the river was overwhelming my very presence.

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The Indus Basin

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The beautiful grey mountains at the North Side of Thiksey Monastery

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The Leh-Manali Highway view from Thiksey Monastery

A distant kite was shrieking and hovering up in the sky in the look for its prey.  The sheer magnitude of this beauty made me humble and grounded. I kneeled down, remained silent. May be hundreds of prayers chanted somewhere deep inside me! I wished I could remain frozen in time beholding the Indus, the mountains and the valleys of Ladakh.

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The two beautiful Chortens near to the parking space

Epilogue

A melancholy rooted deep inside was slowly grabbing my senses while I was walking all the way down to the car park. The amazing two day road trip in the mystic mountains of Ladakh was almost on the verge to be over in about two hours.

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The Fish Eye Shot of the Indus Basin

We had just two more points to cover – the Shey village and the holy Sindhu (Indus) Ghat before we reached our hotel at Leh.

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I had to agree that mountains make people humble

I had to agree that mountains make people humble. You surrender your very self to the sheer magnitude of their gorgeous presence. Their breathtaking aura, perpetual beauty brings long lasting peace and a fond memory that becomes the proud possession for the rest of your life.


 

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