It’s ok to rip the mask and to bare all
To bring down brick by brick that unflinching wall
It’s ok sometimes to wail in pain
And let tears fall without restrain
It’s ok to scream and wonder why
And look up blankly at the sky
It’s ok to let your jaded body be still
And not hurriedly rouse a weakened will
It’s ok to wish it was easier than it is
To plead to fate ‘not now , not this’
It’s ok sometimes to want to flee
Where eyes that judge you cannot see
It’s ok if none can understand
They simply cannot , though you think they can
It’s ok to celebrate each bruise , each scar
Sometimes it’s ok to be what you are
It’s ok to flounder and stagger and fall
Until you find strength to rise and stand tall
It was an extremely perilous journey on that very wet day when we started from Gangtok. I am so thankful to our enthusiastic and cautious driver , who assured us we would make it to Phodong and Labrang , although it would take us longer than usual due to land slides the previous night.
Imagine travelling 40 km to see a lovely Buddhist temple and get a glimpse of splendid architecture only to find it locked with not a single soul in sight! A young monk appeared after about ten minutes and asked us if we’d like to go inside . We were more than happy and he pulled out a bunch of keys and let us in . What a sight that was ! Grand , ornate and simply out of this world . He informed us that photography was prohibited inside.
Famous for the chaam dance in the month of December , the rest of the year is a quiet period , with very few visitors. The old original monastery was destroyed and what stands today is one that was built in the 1970s. This temple is painted in the five colours ‘panchavarna’ ( white , red, blue , green and yellow ) which have symbolic significance in Tibetan Buddhism.
The front gate with the Dharmachakra flanked by deer gazing at the dharmachakra . The driver told us one represents a male deer and the other a female symbolizing harmony and fidelity.
Guardian lions in front of the entrance to the temple were quite colourful , different from the plain white ones I have seen before.
The monk informed us that the external walls of the temple are adorned with the 8 auspicious symbols of Buddhism . The first one I spotted was the pair of golden fish .
He pointed out to this one and asked us to look closely , we did see some of the symbols almost instantly …dharma chakra , pair of golden fish , lotus flower , eternal knot ( in blue ) , the overall pattern of a vase , the little umbrella , conch . Am always confused about the banner of victory , so that remained elusive.
He then showed us a few relics from the original temple and let us a click a picture of them.
We were also show the long gallery where monks sit and watch the rituals and the Chaam dance during festivities. The wooden chair is probably for the Lama .
It’s nice to be able to explore a place sans the maddening crowds. This visit taught me a little about symbolism in Tibetan Buddhism . Will post about Labrang soon. Till then , happy blogging and happy exploring 🙂
Durpin Hill is one of two hills in Kalimpong , West Bengal. The Zang Dhok Palri Monastery looks gorgeous against the backdrop of mountains and plays hide and seek with clouds.
Bright wall murals and a repository of 108 volumes of Kangyur (translated words of the Buddha) and other holy scrolls and books from Tibet that were carried by the Dalai Lama to India after the Chinese invasion and its Buddhist architectural style of construction make this monastery special.
The Dalai Lama consecrated this monastery six years after its construction.
The Durpin hill is a vantage point offering a scenic view of the entire town and the hill is therefore called ‘Durpin’ which means ‘binoculars’ in the Nepali language. The Teesta river flowing , the tea estates on the way and a beautiful golf course are all sights to behold , making the journey even more memorable.
A quaint suspension bridge in Sikkim , some distance away from Pelling , is breathtaking.Connecting two gorges in West Sikkim , this is the second highest suspension bridge in the Asian continent. Surrounded by waterfalls , prayer flags swaying and splendid views of verdant valleys, this is a lovely place to visit .
On the other side of the bridge is a little eatery that serves Newari food .Newar are the indigenous people from Kathmandu in Nepal. Many have crossed over to India and settled in Sikkim. I opted for the thali ( a full meal) and it was so different from anything I have ever had.
The meal is called ja which means rice accompanied with vegetables , a curry and some chicken ( mine was a non vegetarian meal)
A side dish of fermented mustard leaves ‘gundruk’ is their specialty . Sun dried , it didn’t look very appealing , but the taste was rather nice . I enjoyed it . There was also a soup made of those leaves , Gundruk ko jhol ( see the small steel bowl) . I didn’t enjoy that much . The tarkari ( vegetable siders) were all yum .
I also tasted Gwarmari ( Nepali fried bread ) and Sel-roti ( rice flower fried bread that looks like a doughnut). These are really tasty when had hot and fresh.
Walking mid-air , tasting Nepali treats and enjoying the pristine surroundings is a perfect way of spending a quiet evening in Pelling.
Even if you are alone
Smaller than the rest
Delight a tired soul
And your day will be blessed
Look up to the sunshine
Despite the turbid sky
Seize every moment
Even though the end is nigh
Live and love to the fullest
Half-hearted bids will lead to gloom
Make that journey count
The one from womb to the tomb
There is a light within you
Do not shy , just let it show
Some will see your beauty
Of which others may never know
Join the chorus of chirping birds
Sing praises of sun and rain
Know one day you’ll turn to dust
Vanity will be in vain
Tattered robes might eclipse
A shimmering heart of gold
Those we call faint-hearted
May have valiant tales untold
Placid waters , unruffled tones
Who knows what depths they veil
Steadfast hands you thought would hold you
Let go promptly in storm and hail
Gnarled trees may bear sweet fruit
Wrinkled faces may have secrets to reveal
Can flawed impressions be rectified ?
Will unseeing eyes begin to heal?
About the picture : What looked like a flower from a distance , was a succulent plant instead . I saw this in Pelling .
Vanilla sponge and fresh cream
Canned fruit and orange zest
Messy looking , but made with love
Homemade always is the best !
Happiness is baking a cake for family even when you are on a strict diet 🙂
Saturday surprise for family = Smiles , Hugs and Kisses !
To compose a befitting psalm
I have not a powerful pen
Old melodies I sing to you
Those you’ve heard now and then.
Garlands made with quivering fingers
Aren’t as pretty as they should be
Clothed in pristine raiment, I hide
A heart stained with profanity.
Flickering votive offerings , I know,
The murk of sin cannot dispel
Feeble vows of surrender
Aching urges cannot quell.
I still bring to you my beauty
And all my brokenness
Seeking your compassion
When the world seems merciless.
My scars , my doubts and all my flaws
I offer as gifts to you
Sanctify them Master
That I may love and live anew .