The beautiful Chortens of Shey Palace overlooking the serene Indus valley.
Chortens, also known as 'Stupas', are integral to Buddhism. In India, they are a common sight in Sikkim and parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.
As we entered the city of Leh and drove to our Hotel, we frequently came across these dome-shaped monuments - at crossroads, near a monastery or along the perimeter of schools.It was not hard to deduce that Buddhism was the major religion in Ladakh.
A chorten or stupa was the first Buddhist art form, symbolic of Buddha and originally built for storing the sacred relics and remains of Buddha.
The general form of a stupa represents Buddha seated in the meditation posture on a lion throne.The top of the spire, with the well-known ‘twin-symbol’ uniting the sun and moon, is his crown(symbolic of the space element),a protective parasol (symbolic of the air element),ten or thirteen steps of enlightenment (symbolic of the fire element), the square at the spire’s base is his head,the dome where the relics are kept is his body (symbolic of the water element), the steps of the lower terrace are his legs while the square platform is his throne (symbolic of the earth element). Circumambulation or 'pradakhshina'(the act of moving around a sacred object or idol) has been an important devotional practice in Buddhism, so the Chortens always have a 'pradakhshina' path around them. All the major monasteries have their own Chortens preserving the earthly remains of the Head Lama.
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A pair of Curious cows in Mumbai, at the end of a residential street with stalls selling fruit, veg and everyday items, as well as essentials for Diwali - fireworks and bangers, coloured sand and stencils. We had lunch in a local bar around the corner (Jyoti Family Restaurant and Bar) where the food was incredible, including a spot-on fish tikka special.
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