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Monday, 31 October 2016

From Leh to Lamayuru, India - Page 2

Written by Rama Shivakumar
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Alchi Gompa is unique in that it is situated downriver; we walk downhill in the shade of the poplars and willows past the stalls selling Tibetan wares, to the crumbling monastic complex or chos-‘khor. The enclave is attributed to the great Tibetan scholar Rinchen Zangpo, a visionary. When he sought to incorporate Tibetan Buddhism into the local culture in around the 11th century, he employed Kashmiri artists in the area to create murals and sculptures to adorn the temples in the chos-‘khor.

Monastery Lamayuru

The Alchi Sumsteg is a three-storied building with elegant columns and ornate Kashmiri woodwork. We walk though to the main ceremonial hall, the Dukhang, where the monks assemble for worship and meals. Colorful mandalas and thangkhas hang down from the ceiling like prayer confetti. It is dark inside the inner sanctum, where the bejeweled miniature idol of Maitreya sits in eternal meditation. The chos-‘khor has a central courtyard with short apricot trees and faded prayer flags in the center and little shrines lining the perimeter.

 

The temple of Manjushri, Buddha’s disciple has a very small, ornate entryway with cave like interior. Once inside, we are awed by four gigantic figures of Majushri sitting back to back on a common brightly colored pedestal. A naked bulb hangs from the ceiling, lighting up Majushri’s red effeminate body adorned with bright jewelry- gold, green and turquoise.

 

The murals of the meditating Buddha are repetitive, like Warhol’s screen paintings. They line the walls of the temples and also the interior of the chortens in the temple complex.

 

It is noon by the time we leave Alchi. The sky is a limitless blue; a blazing sun sears the barren peaks to purples and reds. The scenery at Lamayuru is like a desolate moonscape. The wind has weathered the mountains here to form conical rocks. We are at once bathed in a golden light.

Moonscape At Lamayuru

 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 01 November 2016

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