|Festivities at Naropa Festival|
It was a mixed feeling when I entered the room to attend the curtain raiser on 'Naropa-2016' at India International Centre located in Delhi. One of the biggest festival held in Leh every twelve years and touted as ‘The Kumbh Mela of the Himalayas ‘, this was a window of opportunity to learn about the event. A lot of memories raced through my mind as I interacted with the fellow travel bloggers and a few monks and nuns who had travelled all the way from Manali for this event.
|Dangerous roads to Leh|
The memories of the deep valleys, serpentine roads and arid mountains refreshed as if it was yesterday. Just after my wedding, my wife and I decided to go from Srinagar to Leh on the spur of moment. Next morning in the wee hours we boarded the bus from the Army Transit Mess in Srinagar. The recollection of memories of steep climb through Zojila pass with a wall of snow on either side of the road, till we crossed Gumri( The second coldest place on the Earth) to reach Kargil a distance of 200km for a night halt were still playing. The thoughts were interrupted by the entry of a very down to earth His Eminence Thukshey Rinpoche who currently heads the Drupka Lineage.
|His Eminence Thukshey Rinpoche at the Blog Meet|
The agile and young monk spoke softly , in all humility about his background briefly and then went on to describe the culture and pursuits of bringing awareness and maintaining the customs and traditions in the wilderness of Ladakh. His child like exuberance in preserving the adage of ‘Live to Love’ philosophy of life was infectious. A keen environmentalist, an educator, he puts into action the Buddhist philosophy to resolve the current problems. He sets an example by running the famous ‘Rancho school’ (of the movie ‘3 Idiots’ fame), collecting the plastic garbage to clean the environment, planting saplings by the banks of river to prevent inundation and ecological disasters during floods and avalanches, creating shelters for stray dogs and cattle, working towards gender equality , participating in cycling rallies and padyatras to just name a few.
Naropa is the patron Saint of the Drupka Order whose life heralded the beginning of the rich traditions of the Buddhist philosophy. The saint resided in Ladakh where he mastered the ‘Six Yogas of Naropa’. These are now the pillars of meditational Vajrayana Buddhism, fundamental to every school in Himalayas.The Drupka Lineage(the Dragon Lineage) dates back to the times of historical trading ‘Silk route’. The present Gyalwang Drupka is the twelveth reincarnation of the founder of the Drupka Lineage.
|Hemis Monastery at Leh|
A week -long festival commencing from 16 Sep at the Hemis Monastery in Leh will be flagged off by His Holiness Gyalwang Drupka when he dons the Six Ornaments of Naropa, which are said to provide ‘liberation on sight’ to those who witness it. It is equivalent to taking a dip in the Ganges during the Kumbh Mela. A number of events ranging from a fashion parade showcasing the unique culture and traditions of Ladakh, public display of Six Bone Ornaments, performance of regional and Bollywood celibrities, unfurling of silk Thangka of Buddha Amitabha( the largest silk brocade in the Himalayas), archery competitions, dissemination of teachings of the Lineage and many more activities are planned. It is expected that half a million visitors will attend the festivities, including many celebrities. The mountains will come to life with the echo of music and beat of drums.
Elaborate preparations are underway to provide the comfort to the visitors ranging from best of the hotels to home stay with the families. Those who are keen to attend the event can get the details from the site http://www.naropa2016.org/ and firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS: Images taken at the Blog Meet and kind courtesy Google