Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A taste of the Buddhist-Tibetan culture

Ancient Gompas dramatically perched on rocky outcrops. Bald monks that wander about in their red and yellow garments. Spinning (rigorously clockwise) prayer wheels that slowly release prayers and mantras. Colourful fluttering prayer flags that metaphorically send spiritual messages off into the wind...

Our trip to Ladakh revealed itself being also an opportunity to get in contact for the first time with the Tibetan-Buddhist-Himalayan culture.

And while - it’s true - we spent most of our time in remote mountain paths, we could not avoid however to breathe the atmosphere of this Buddhist ex-kingdom. We managed to visit a couple of Gompas (we particularly liked that of Lamayuru, which dominates a tiny valley before entering into the Zanskar Range) and we found ourselves by chance in Kozok right when the local Gompa was celebrating - with strange rituals and typical masked dances - the Gu-Stor, one of the major Buddhist festivals in Ladakh.

In the end, we can’t say we got to the heart of Buddhism - but we certainly had another taste of this mosaic of religions that is India.