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‘To live many lifetimes within a lifetime…”. Its time for another lifetime!
My trip to Sikkim in March 2011, was planned during the week of Losar (Tibetan New Year) celebrations. With the focussed objective of experiencing the ceremonies that are held in that week, I visited 10 different monasteries in East Sikkim, South Sikkim, and West Sikkim over a fortnight.
Sikkim, a state of India since 1975, lies wedged between Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal and shares much of the culture of its neighbours.
I am no expert on Sikkim – but it appeared as though the entire state is a collection of individual hills with settlements – towns or villages – at the peak of each. The Teesta river, its tributaries and the numerous waterfalls that feed the rivers break the uniformly monotonous vision of green hills and greener valleys.
Each town shown in the map above is perched on a separate hill – so inter-city traveling entailed going up 6000 ft to Gangtok, then down all the way and then winding up all the way up to the top of the next hill. A distance of 10 km as the crow flies, expands to 100 km on the hilly ascending and descending winding roads. Had I known earlier, I would have been less ambitious in planning such a long journey. Post-facto of course, being blind and ignorant allowed me to explore as much as was physically possible – without being restrained by mental barriers!
The articles below are casual photo-essays recording the various threads of my experiences to the towns of Gangtok, Limdung, Tashiding, Pelling and Kalimpong (Bengal).
Please click on the links to read the articles
Chanting Ceremony at Lingdum Monastery, Sikkim
Losar Celebrations – Bonfire at Kagyud Monastery, Sikkim
Procession at the Enchey Monastery, Sikkim
Lama Dances at Thongsa Monastery, Kalimpong
Dancing with the Nuns at Phendzong Nunnery
Cross border handshake at Nathu-la Pass on the Silk Route
Yak Horn textile adornments, Sikkim
Art in Sikkimese Monastery Architecture
Wood Art in Sikkimese Monasteries – Windows, Doors & Pillars
Art in Buddhist Ritual Objects
Breathtaking Mural Paintings of Sikkim Monasteries
Professional quality Images of Sikkim
March 12, 2011