Travel with Twinny ..Welcome to Buddha Land !

When you have been invited to be part of a 60 member birthday celebration of a larger- than -life figure, Sidhesh Kaul , you DONT SAY ‘ NO’!

But , just then , you read the fine print and discover the ‘party ‘ is in Leh , in faraway , high altitude Ladakh !

Yo!

You stand back and shudder !

At this point in your life you are messed up with peculiar Medical issues . Do you want to add to that list ??

For bratty Sid and his lovely , lively wife Cherry you decide well er …er …YES !

And this decision is Unanimous too !

And so , Mid -sept 60 of us swoop down to one of the 10 most scenic airports of the world !

Surrounded by miles of barren desert mountains , skirting the winding Indus River , the valley kingdom of Leh surprises and teaches .

Lesson number one …Preparation is key !

For the first 3 days,

Diamox , a determination to rest and to have three litres of water before three ! Piece of cake , right ??!

One may be fascinated by the army presence in Leh , drawn by the Tibetan markets , in awe of motorbike 🏍 enthusiasts , , but it is the nurturing Buddhist peace that is overwhelming.

In the numerous stupas,monasteries , thangkas life’s learnings begin and end .

Huff , puff , up you trudge to the monasteries of Alchi , Hemis ,Stakna ..to name a few .

Located high atop arid hills , the steps up , get only steeper as you approach the colourful assembly halls .

So here’s Lesson number two . To get anywhere in life might appear easy but IT IS NOT ! You have to strive , keeping your goal clear in mind !

And then ,when you finally reach the shrines to the countless Boddhisattvas , you Bend !Sometimes even genuflect !

The doors to the temple chambers are small , ostensibly to protect from the cool mountain air but entering the sacred atrium coaxes a kind of humble respect !

‘Be humble!’ is lesson no 3 !

You are amazed by the Buddha embodiments of

Karuna ( compassion)

Maitreya ( friendship )

Manjushri ( wisdom )

ARM yourself with all three , my friend . That’s lesson number four !

The Mother Goddess of Longevity , Tara is here to guide and shower you her blessings .

In the beautiful monastery at Alchi , Tashi , our very knowledgeable guide , shows us a four foot diametered , intricately designed Sand Mandala .

He relates a story of how the Head Monk endeavoured to teach Detachment to his students by a swift swipe of his shawl on the hitherto painstakingly made mandala .

It must have pained the student monks to see their 6 month work destroyed in a flash !

It certainly did , us !

But detachment is the path to enlightenment .. Hey and we all want to be enlightened ! 💪

Sitting by a stream bathed by the afternoon sun at Le Mentok , a gentle breeze blowing in the azure skies , listening to the strains of an ace Ladakhi band , one could not help but experience ‘serenity’ !

It shows ,right ?!

By now , this rather special group of Sidheshs friends , born from ‘his life’s journey’ , had become each other’s friends too …

Share , Care ,Enjoy the NOW ! Lesson number 5 !

Our every meal in Leh was a treat! But Ladakhi cuisine presented by Kunzis , Chef extraordinaire in ‘the Willow’ , near Stok Palace , was a masterpiece!

Using ‘local’ ingredients , though they may have come from ‘nearby’ Tibet , Himachal , Kashmir , or Ladakh itself she wove in stories and delicate flavours to create the magical …

Especially the Yarkhandi pulao …

A shank of mutton cooked long and slow in a bed of rice with julienned carrots garnished with Afghan raisins , roasted apricot kernels .. ooh lala !

No lesson here .. Just Go ahead , Spoil yourself , soak in the ‘flavours’ , you are allowed to titillate your palate !

No religion BEGS for World Peace the way Buddhism does .

It was a pleasure meeting Ven . Gyomyo Nakamura , who came to India from Japan in 1975, embraced Buddhism and set up the magnificent Shanti Stupa in an effort to establish 🌎 peace !

Love All !

That’s Message no 6 .Include the birds animals ,the mentally challenged ,literally ALL !

In the early morning hours of our last day we visited the picturesque Thiksey monastery .

Here , young novice monks are taught logic and philosophy . The little monks scamper up and down the stairs , as sprightly as monkeys smiling as they carry heavy buckets of buckwheat and water , respectfully serve buttered tea to the senior Monks and the devotees seated in the prayerhall , recite chants !

These daily normal activities make them strong, wise , happy ! And it is this happiness which augurs an inner strength , an inner energy .

Lesson number 7 !

And thats the last of Twinnys weekly learnings ! ‘Do all your daily chores whilst-growing steadily within! ‘

I close my eyes taking in the chants of the morning prayers , rising in crescendo , the beating of the drums , the clashing of cymbals , the trumpeting of the bugle .

Every once in a while , in our lives there is an inner call , an awakening , a ‘bodhi ‘ moment ..

With my bugle, cymbals and drums

I applaud you Siddhu Baba and Cherry …

You have given us this ‘bodhi ‘ moment .

‘Life’ truly is a celebration !

A majestic one at that

Thankyou ! Thankyou !

And wish you a very happy birthday !

Hang in there folks ! A prize photo and a question follows ..

At Pangong Lake

Take a bow , Madhukar ! Oh I see ,you are doing the headstand !

Maninder and Shamila Kohli ….You are absolute stars ! But here comes the ‘question ‘

Pray , Why is your Event Management company called JUNIPER???!

And now finally Toodle loo Folks ! Bombay beckons …

Love you all !🤗❤️✨

20 thoughts on “Travel with Twinny ..Welcome to Buddha Land !

  1. Adorable written. Just like you!
    Captured the essence of the wondrous celebration of Sid’s life and the essence of friendship.

    Like

  2. Lovely travelogue dear Twinny…😍
    I can sense you are almost half way on the Buddhist path…..😇
    Tread fearlessly & you shall be enlightened….😔😔😔😔🤗🤩

    Like

  3. Lad(a)ki u have us Leh’d
    In a style that’s Bodhi 🌹
    Lessons sublime
    Dealt with an equanimity,
    A serene , enchanting unfolding 🙏🏼
    What a majestic site chosen at the pinnacle ,
    In the abode of the glaciated snow!
    To celebrate the Birthday, Friendships, and more,
    To relive the cradled past in unison ,
    The landmark sixties, with the sixties, an inspiration for the eighties 😊
    Dil to kaccha hai jee,
    Maangey bahut kuch aur jee
    Sirf sathiyaen hain abhi
    Karney Milney ki aasha hai bahut aur bhi ,
    My birthday wishes to the BOY , who created this rendezvous 💐🎂🫡
    A puzzle … looking for an answer…. wonder whether the rarefied air ,
    Is an elixir for a good thoughts and good living !? Do we desert the plains???
    Thank U Radhika for a beautiful exposition and sharing ur lovely days with Us 🙏🏼

    Like

  4. Radha,
    You have presented Leh Ladak so beautifully. You make the the places you visit very special and lively.
    Good observations and your write up.
    Keep going

    Like

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