Yesterday I went to visit the famous ‘Shanti Stupa’ of Leh (Ladakh, India) with two of my friends. Totally geared up with my camera I was very excited that finally I was going to visit the place since I had been wanting to see it for a long time. As soon as you reach the gates the first thing you can’t help but notice is the view of the surroundings…the inhabited valley surrounded by brown hills.
Entering the gates and walking a few steps comes a beautiful little temple. As you stand in front of the door you see the statue of golden Buddha. Sitting behind him are two smaller Buddhas meditating. As you pay attention to Buddha in front you can’t help but notice the calmness on his face. It’s like he’s looking back at you and soothing your mind.
It’s a beautiful room decorated in gold, red, yellow, greens, and blues…Oh! And if you pay attention to the top right and left corners of the wall behind Buddha you will notice two beautiful and colorful artworks. Below are the pictures.
I love visiting Monasteries so I insisted that I wanted to sit there and spend some time in quietness. It felt amazing. Well, after few minutes we moved on and saw an even bigger temple. A huge hall with a huge statue of blue haired Buddha sitting calmly and glowing under the sun rays peeking through the windows. With half shut eyes he sits holding a bowl in his hands.
Here too I sat for a while. After the ‘awakening’ time I had in the temples we stood in front of the mighty Shanti Stupa. On the right is the beautiful Zanskar range with its snow peaks glittering under the sun and on the left is the valley, as I mentioned earlier. Here is the photograph of the Shanti Stupa shining on a sunny day with clear blue sky and brown mountains behind it. Also seen is the Zanskar range (second photograph).
Not many people would be aware of the fact that this Stupa was built by Japanese monks with the assistance of Ladakhi monks as a symbol of ‘World peace’. It was built in 1991 and holds the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama himself. It has two floors, and one is supposed to walk clock wise. The colorful and intricate artwork stands out against the white background of the Stupa.
As I was busy clicking photographs on the top floor, a monk who was busy restoring the artwork called out to me. He was a humorous monk and at one point even teased me. Anyway, we began chatting and had a long conversation about Enlightenment, peace and how to be a better human being in today’s world which is filled with so much negativity and hatred.
Our conversation was so interesting that I lost track of time. I forgot about my friends and where I was. It was when I heard someone shout my name that I snapped out of our conversation and realized that my friends were calling me. The monk was so keen to converse with me that I was feeling guilty and sorry for interrupting him to say that I had to go. Honestly, even I wanted to chat more…
A productive day. Loved my visit!