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reflections

A Photo a Week Challenge: Over 100 Years Old

In the first week of January  we were in Amritsar in the state of Punjab. We had been longing to see HARMANDIR SAHIB or THE GOLDEN TEMPLE for quite some time. The Golden temple is one of the most sacred pilgrimage centres for the Sikhs. In fact, people of all faiths go there. Devotion and service is inherent in every nook and corner of the temple complex. We felt blessed to have been there.

In 1581 Guru Arjan Singh initiated the construction of the Gurudwara. The temple made of bricks was completed in 1589.

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Golden Temple – Wikipedia
en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Golden_Temple

The Golden Temple, also known as Harmandir Sahib, meaning “abode of God or Darbār Sahib … In 1802, at age 22, he took Amritsar from the Bhangi Sikh misl, paid homage at the Golden Temple and announced that he would renovate and …
State‎: ‎Punjab
Completed‎: ‎1589 (Temple), 1604 (with Adi Gra…

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Life reflections

Everyday Moments- SOL 2020

slice-of-life_individual

My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.
My letters to my doddamma are about our trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala between 1st and 9th of this month. So I am sharing the same in my Slice of Life post.

Around McLeodganj 7-01-2020
We set out from Norbulingka to our next destination. It was raining and my husband was uncomfortable in his wet shoes. We asked the driver to stop at any shop where we could get Hawai chappals. It was raining and we passed many small villages and towns. We stopped in front of a small shop which was selling all sorts of things. My husband bought the chappals and also an umbrella. But we were not sure if it would be of any help for three of us. 😊

7th Karamapa

7th Karmapa (2)
We reached Karampa Monastery or the Gyoto Tantric Monastery temple. The buildings were symmetrical and we had to climb wide stairs to reach the temple. The yellow buildings with green roofs and the wide red staircase looked beautiful. There were not many people about. We rushed up the stairs because it was raining. Inside the big hall there were different statues and seats in rows for the monks. There was notice that no one should sit on them. It was beautiful inside. At that time we did not notice the beautiful mountains in the background. It had been cloudy and raining. We walked around but did not sit there.

7th Karmapa Mon (8)
Our next stop was the Chamunda Devi temple on the banks of the Ban Ganga river. Here we could not really appreciate the place as it was pouring and one umbrella was not enough. We walked to the temple, a small one. Inside devotees were singing devotional songs with religious fervor. We walked around the sanctum and received prasad.

After this we went back to the car. My brother had told Aravinda that he should not miss eating piping hot Maggi noodles in the hills. We told this to our driver and he stopped at a small roadside eatery. He seemed to know the shopkeeper. We had tea and a plate of vegetable Maggi noodles. We had not eaten it for ages but it did taste good. We were lucky to purchase a bottle of local honey there. But unfortunately, we were not destined a taste even a drop of it !! ☹.

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We next proceeded to the famous cricket stadium of Dharamsala. It is a beautiful ground. We bought tickets and went to the stands. My husband enjoys cricket. I used to enjoy it long back. We took many photos of the soggy cricket ground. As we were walking back we spotted three men ahead of us. We asked one of them to take a photo of us and it turned out that he was from Gulbarga in Karnataka. His friends started making fun of him because he was happy to talk to us in Kannada. From there we went on to the War Memorial in a garden. We did not step out because of the rain but took some photos from the car. Our last stop were the tea gardens. The tea bushes covering the hill sides looked beautiful but I knew that tea-pluckers’ work was hard and back breaking. We don’t think of all that when we drink tea every day.

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Aravind’s friend had told him about Café Illiterati not far from our hotel. We asked our driver to drop us there. The ambience of the café was fascinating. There were floor-to-ceiling book shelves filled with a variety of books. The café was on the hillside and the view was beautiful. We ate a pizza and drank tea. Aravinda had double espresso which I secretly I could have made at home at 1/10th of the price he paid 😊. There were many people about. A little dog was warming itself in front of the fire.

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From there we walked up to our hotel. The distance was not much but we had to walk up all the way. At one point I thought it would be difficult to go but we did, good aerobic exercise 😊 and reached the hotel at 5.30.
A wonderful and rewarding day. We asked for hot water to drink and relaxed. We did not go out again as we had to finish packing. We had dinner in the hotel and retired for the day.

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https://kagyuoffice.org/office/
http://www.himachalresorts.com/temples-of-himachal/chamunda-devi-temple.html

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Life reflections

#SoCS Feb. 22/2020

socs-badge-2019-2020

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “animal sounds.” Write about the sounds animals make and how you experience them. Have fun!

‘Animal sounds’ remind me of our grandchildren. Not only our grandchildren but most children love to imitate the ‘bow wow’ of dogs and ‘meow’ of cats as soon as they learn to talk and to imitate. It is interesting and I wonder why they do that.

Of all the animal sounds the one which I don’t like is that of dogs howling. They raise their heads and start howling. I wonder why they do that. There must be a reason. Anyway that sound reminds of those long ago days when I enjoyed reading horror books, about werewolves and about Dracula. I think it was in 1977, I was in high school and I had completed Dracula that evening. It was a full moon night and moon light streamed into the room. I watched them with horror and I was sure that Dracula would come into the room on those rays. I woke up screaming with my mother rushing into the room 😊. So long ago, but I can still picture that scene.
Books are a very important and nice part of my life. But I make it a point not read anything disturbing just before going to bed 😊. Nightmares can spoil the night.

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Life reflections

Everyday Moments, # SOL -2020

slice-of-life_individual

My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.
My letters to my doddamma are about our trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala between 1st and 9th of this month. So I am sharing the same in my Slice of Life post.

Around McLeodganj 7-01-2020

It was drizzling yesterday and today morning too the rain is coming down. We were told the day was going to be a rainy one. It is so in the mountains, it may start raining suddenly and stop after a while or it may continue raining for days. We did not cancel our day trip. Our hotel organized different day trips by taxi. We selected the one which included a visit to the famous cricket stadium in Dharamsala.

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After a good breakfast in the hotel we left at 9.45. Our driver was Rajesh and the car a new one. He said we were the first passengers to ride in it. He had yet to place mats on the floor of the car and had put a lot of newspapers there. We were careful not to dirty the floor but it was raining. 😊
Our first stop was the Kangra Art Museum. It was a small one but had beautiful paintings, miniature paintings, thangkas and other artifacts. We spent more than an hour there. While describing some of the paintings to Aravinda we observed that Radha and Krishna were shown with a palace as the background. I had always imagined Radha in Brindavana and not in palaces. Thangkas are beautiful paintings on cloth, many are on silk brocade, showing scenes from the life of the Buddha. When we came out it was still raining.

7th Norbulingka (15)

Our next stop was Norbulingka Institute. It was founded in 1995 to preserve Tibetan arts and culture. We bought tickets at the entrance and walked into what seemed another world. A cobbled path led us to a beautiful building called Norling House. It was a guest house. From there we climbed to a slightly higher level and saw small streams on either side under the shade of big, beautiful trees. Students learn the different crafts in the workshops. People are allowed into the workshops. We first walked into the woodcraft room. Many craftsmen were carving beautiful scenes in wood. There were a variety of instruments. We watched them carving intricate designs. In the next room the wooden artifacts were being painted.
The Losel Doll museum had over 150 dolls showing different scenes from Tibetan history. They reminded me of the Doll museum in New Delhi which had a beautiful collection.

7th Norbulingka (27)

In the metal workshop, students were busy drawing and working on metal. Two of them were kind enough to explain to us what they were doing. They showed us the instruments we were using. They were happy to learn that we were from Karnataka. They were from Bylakuppe, the Tibetan settlement in our state.

7th Norbu (1)

We then went to the temple, a large hall with the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. It is the largest outside Tibet. There were beautiful thangkas on the wall and one very large one hanging from the ceiling. We sat there for some time. It was very peaceful. It was still raining as we came out. We ran for cover and reached the institute’s shop. There were beautiful works of art made in the institute for sale. Aravind purchased an embossed painting of the white conch, a propitious symbol, and a wooden carving of the endless knot. This symbol is thought by the Tibetans to be the most important symbol. As we were leaving my husband found that he had left the bag in the temple. It was still there when he went to get it.

7th Norbulingka (1)

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It was now time for us to leave. A beautiful place and we were glad to have been there. It was past lunch time but we were not hungry and decided to skip lunch. We then proceeded to our next destination.
(To be continued…)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thangka

https://www.norbulingka.org/visiting-norbulingka.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radha

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Life reflections

#SoCS Feb. 15/2020

socs-badge-2019-2020

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “cheek.” Use it as a noun or a verb. Enjoy!

The word ‘cheek’ immediately brought to mind the scene that happened when our daughter and grandchildren had come for a vacation last year. Our grandson flung himself at his mother and kissed her on the cheek. His sister likes to do all that her brother does. She too wanted to kiss her mother. It was such a beautiful moment. A very spontaneous one, though I could not take a photo that moment will always remain with me.

The word ‘cheek’ also reminded me of Oliver Twist. The ‘cheek of the orphan’ must have been the thought in the mind of the person in charge of the meals in the orphanage. How dare he ask for more!! I read the book long back but some scenes and sentences are not forgotten. My father used to say the sentence ‘Barkis is willing’ from David Copperfield with a smile. He also loved the first sentence of Pride and Prejudice. I have a notebook where I write down the sentences I like in the books that I read.

In the seventies a Hindi movie called ‘Sholay’ was released. It became so popular and is still popular that people knew all its dialogues. I think it was the first movie where the dialogues were more popular than the songs. Even now we smile when we hear the dialogues and immediately the scene comes to mind. As I write this my cheeks stretch with a smile 😊. The movie has remained an icon. Every character and every scene was perfect. There is one character with just one line in one scene, he and his line are remembered by all. In fact all the characters have remained in the minds of the people who loved the movie.

I wonder if writers are surprised when what they have written remain in the memories of people for a long, long time. Many of them are no more but what they have written lives on.

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Life reflections

Three Things Challenge #145

2020-logo.jpg Three things challenge
Your three words/things today are:
HEART
POISON
CARE

‘Cruel words poison
The heart, mind and body too
We should speak with care.’

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Life reflections

Everyday Moments, Share a Slice- #SOL 2020

My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.
My letters to my doddamma are about our trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala between 1st and 9th of this month. So I am sharing the same in my Slice of Life post.

Exploring McLeodganj (6-01-2020)
Today morning we went upstairs to the restaurant. It was very cold. We ate a good breakfast and went back to our room. Getting ready we walked along the narrow road. We were going to explore on our own. We had decided what we were going to see.

The Dalai Lama temple complex was our first destination. The temple was on the first floor. We removed our footwear and circumambulated the shrine. Half way around we stepped inside. At the feet of the statue of Buddha there were offering of fruits, flowers and even cake and biscuits. No one was allowed to sit inside. We came out and continued our walk around the shrine. Adjacent to the walls there were drums called chakras with ‘mantras’ to Avalokitheshwara Buddha. We turned these wheels. It is believed that turning them purifies the individual’s karma. More the number of revolutions the person achieves, greater effect.

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There were wooden handles beneath the drums but I saw that most people were touching the drums to move them instead of the handles. A monk was walking by lost in his world. I wonder what he thought about all this. Maybe he is used to tourists 😊. We could see the beautiful mountain peaks in the distance. We sat for some time and then walked down. We had read about the Tibetan museum inside the temple complex. Unfortunately, it was closed. Near the museum were three fascinating statues and we asked a boy to take our picture.

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We then walked to the centre of the town which people called ‘chowk’. On the way we saw a lady selling hot vegetable momos with spicy chutney. We had a plate. It was very tasty. I have looked up the recipe and hope to make them some day.

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We walked along the winding road to the town of Bhagsu, 2 ½ kms away. It started drizzling and we had no umbrella. A man was selling beautiful black figurines made of powdered stone. We bought one of them, a statuette of Lord Ganapati. It was raining continuously when we reached the temple. A small and beautiful shrine. Beyond the temple was a site of a waterfall but no water. I am sure it would look beautiful in full flow.

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We took an autorickshaw back To McLeodganj. We asked the driver to take us a church called St John in the Wilderness. It was located in a beautiful place, unfortunately it was shut. We came back to the town centre.

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We had read about The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives located in the vicinity of McLeodganj. We hired another auto rickshaw to take us to there. It was three kilometres away. The entrance to the building looked beautiful. On the ground floor we walked into the reading room. The librarian was very helpful and showed us around. She was a Tibetan and told us she had been born and brought up in Bylakuppe near Kushalnagar in our state. Many Tibetans have settled on lands given to them in Karnataka. She was happy to meet us. The museum upstairs was very good. The curator, Mr Namgyal was very enthusiastic and explained to us all the exhibits. We enjoyed listening to him. It was pouring with rain outside. Fortunately, we got a taxi in the campus itself.

We returned to our hotel tired but happy. People readily agreed when I asked them if I could take their photo. They are friendly. At night, we had dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. The food was very good, fresh and tasty.
In spite of the heater it was very cold and it was nice and warm under the woolen blankets. At that moment we felt the heat of our place is much better than the cold 😊.

6th from hotel (2)

https://www.tripsavvy.com/tsuglagkhang-home-of-the-dalai-lama-1458245https://hebbarskitchen.com/veg-wheat-momos-recipe-atta-momos/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._John_in_the_Wilderness_Church_(Dharamshala)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bylakuppehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Tibetan_Works_and_Archives

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Life reflections

#SoCS Feb. 8/2020

slice-of-life_individual
Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “(un)pack.” Use “pack” or its opposite in your post. Have fun!

In January we went on a vacation to Amritsar and Dharamsala in North India. Amritsar is home to the Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib, one of the most sacred places for the Sikhs. Dharamasala is home to The Dalai Lama. My Slices of Life hosted by Two Writing Teachers have been about our trip.
SOL Tuesday #SOL20

How time flies. Last month on the 8th we were coming back to Amritsar from McLeodganj. The days when we were packing for our trip seems a dream. In the last week of December we were reading about the cold wave in the north. And the temperatures had gone down to one degree in Amritsar and Dharamsala. We were prepared for the cold. We have woollen clothes and had put them out in the sun before packing. Our place is near the sea and we have no winter at all.
We had a wonderful time and time just flew. We reached home on the 9th evening and over the next two days we were unpacking. The woollen clothes were well used. We washed them, dried them in the sun and packed them. I don’t when we will be using them again.

The cold was a little too much for us but we loved the experience. And we decided never to complain about the heat in our place. I am sure we will forget that when summer comes and will think with nostalgia the cold in Dharamsala and Amritsar 😊. Human nature !!

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Life reflections

Ronovan Writes #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #291 Charm&Harm

ronovan-writes-haiku-poertry-challenge-image-2016-april

Belief in a charm

That it keeps away all harm

Is so personal.

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Life reflections

Everyday Moments- SOL Tuesday #SOL20

slice-of-life_individual

My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.
My letters to my doddamma are about our trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala between 1st and 9th of this month. So I am sharing the same in my Slice of Life post.

4-02-2020
Amritsar to McLeodganj       5-01-2020

We left Amritsar at 9.30 for Mcleodganj. Our driver, Nishan Singh had taken us to Dera Baba Nanak the previous day. He asked us whether his cousin could come along as he would be returning alone. We gave our consent. It was a pleasure to watch the green fields rolling by on both sides. They stretched away as far as the eye could see. At some places, farmers were sprinkling something from a bucket. We saw Poplar and Guava trees plots of mustard plants in full bloom.

5th dhaba (1)
On the way we stopped at a roadside dhaba for breakfast. The aloo parathas and side dishes were tasty. One of the popular combination with paratha is thick curd. I remembered my school days when my Punjabi classmates got parathas and curds and we got dosas and idlis. We exchanged the food and all were happy 😊.

We passed Patankhot at 12.40. We wanted to pass through this place because my father-in-law used to tell us about his visit to Patankhot on the way to Jammu and Srinagar. He and his nephew, Subraya, went together. A person whom they knew lived in Patankhot and he made all the arrangements to go further. A special permit was needed to go to Jammu and Srinagar. This was in the early sixties. My father-in-law loved to travel and see new places. In his day he travelled a lot. We bypassed the city. In one of the small villages on the foothills we purchased oranges and apples. They were tasty.

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We started climbing the mountains and after some time the car engine started heating up. We had to stop many times as the gradient was steep. As we neared our destination we rang the hotel for directions. The final stretch was very steep and was scary. 😊We wondered whether the car would make it. We were to climb the same stretch three days later. It was an experience to remember.

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It was almost 4PM when we reached our hotel. It was good but it was very cold. We asked for a heater. We could see the snow- covered peaks of the Himalayas from our room. Most Indians are fascinated by the mountains which beckon them. The view was beautiful for us but I wondered about the life of the people.

After a little rest we decided to explore. It was getting dark too. We walked up and it was good aerobic exercise 😊 One of the hotel staff told us about Ananda Dhaba where good vegetarian food was served. We walked up the hill. Most of the shops were closed. We saw Ananda Dhaba and walked in for an early dinner. It was cold and hot tea was a pleasure. The food was very good.

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Feeling very full we walked back slowly shivering with cold in spite of our woolen clothes. From our room we saw lights go on in the houses on the hill sides. We were also able to glimpse the white glimmer of snow on the far peaks before it became pitch dark. It was also very quiet. Then we read a framed notice on the wall. One of the rules was that no noise would be tolerated after 10PM.

https://www.mcleodganj.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathankot
https://www.facebook.com/Ananda-Dhaba-1916105918507205/

(On 2nd morning we attended a Hindustani classical music concert in our place. The singer, Siddhartha Bellmannu is only 23 but such a good singer. We were all taken to another world.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustani_classical_music

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“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”. ― Plato.