Chicago is an amazing city and you can discover so many new places that you will most likely want to come back to in your future. But a wonderful trip can turn very close to a nightmare if you don’t set it up the right way before you actually get in an airplane.
Om Mani Padme Hum
In dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.
—H.H. Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama (on the meaning of – Om mani padme hum)
The enchanting mantra – ‘Om Mane Padme Hum’ resonates throughout the Spiti valley. The prayer flags, prayer wheels, mani stones, temples and monasteries, all reverberate how the people of Spiti have embraced this non-violent and compassionate religion since 9th century AD when Padmasambhava brought Buddhism to this valley. Never could I have imagined a green-less valley to be so beautiful and therapeutic for the soul. The monastic life of people and humble hospitality had touched me deep inside.
Stunning mountain shades, the graveled uneven roads, landscapes that looks unreal and sparkling Spiti river running parallel, the journey was something Isha and I will never forget. This morning when I knocked Isha’s door, I found her staring the perennial snow on those far away peaks from her window. She turned and said, “I was settled but restless until this morning. The silence of these mountains speak.” The lamas were praying at the monastery and we could hear them humming the sacred mantras. She got her answers staring at those dramatic mountain sceneries. We decided to visit the crowd-less monasteries and get closer to the vibrant Buddhist culture.
A tent perched at 14,000 ft, watching the milky way galaxy and siting on the meadows encircling the turquoise blue water, Isha and I were living a dream. We spent more than a day at Chandrataal, but it felt so less. Our body had coped with the thin air all around and we both were geared up for Day 2. Our expectations from Spiti had raised.
Gaur Gopal Das in a TEDx talk said there are two types of tears. When tears are cold, they are tears of joy and when tears are warm, they’re tears of pain and anguish. My tears were cold, because I was standing at 14,500 ft in front on Chandra Taal Lake and we trekked against all odds to reach here. Though shorter in distance, steep climbing made our trek rigorous. The view from the top was worth every step we climbed. Surrounded by glaciers and high snow-cladded mountains and the magnificient cresent shaped Chandra Taal Lake in front, we dropped our backpacks to embrace the long journey we did to reach here.
Continue reading “Spiti Series – Day 1 : Journey to Chandra Taal – Lake of the Moon”