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Omalaya to organize a Kalachakra 2017 journey by Stéphanie

27 November 2015

Omalaya is organizing a unique journey for the Kalachakra 2017 festival. It is the 34th time that the Dalai Lama is giving the initiation. Omalaya, experts in the field of spiritual travel, bring to you a wonderful opportunity to participate in the ceremony. The Guide – Hermit Tsephel Gelong Tsephel is monk,Yogi and Hermit.He will share his knowledge of meditation and the experiences of Buddha’s own realization with the pilgrims. Tsepel would talk not just about the Kalachakra 2017 Bodhgaya​ Teaching and empowerment but also give tips on how to lead a happier life, how to engage the world we live in more compassionate ways and how to explore our inner self to find more peace. The experience – Unique If  you wish attend the teachings and empowerment rituals of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we invite you to join us inwhat will be a journey of a life-time. This tour would be ideal for you if you are a spiritual wannabe, a keen Buddhist, an avid tourist or just an observer of the biggest gathering of the Tibetan Vajrayana sect of Buddhism. The site – Bodh Gaya It is said that the Buddha attained enlightenment on the sacred ground of Vajrassna beneath the sacred Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya. It is here that the Buddha became one with  Mother earth’s universal and infinite energy. Since then, Bodh Gaya has been the centre of Buddhist universe and most important site of  Buddhist pilgrimage. Kalachakra 2017 will take place for the fifth time in Bodh Gaya to celebrate life, peace and the 80th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Here is a list of things you must know if you are travelling to Bodh Gaya to attend Kalachakra 2017. For detailed information about our Kalachakra 2017 journey, please click here. For more information about the other journeys we organize, please click here.

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An interview with Tashi Gyalpo, the founder of Omalaya for Radio Free Asia by Stéphanie

Sikyong award

10 September 2015

‘If You Make a Good Business Plan You Will Always Be Successful’ On September 2nd this year ‒ Tibetan Democracy Day ‒ Gyalpo Tashi, the founder of Omalaya (formerly Tendrel Travel), was presented with an entrepreneurship award by the Central Tibetan Administration. Here, in an edited version of an interview with Radio Free Asia, Tashi explains his company’s origins and his plans for the future. http://www.rfa.org/tibetan/exile/interview-with-owner-of-tendrel-travel-09292015142116.html#.VgrYdpW9 Radio Free Asia: Tashi Delek to all listeners of Radio Free Asia. I’m Tsewang Ngodup. My guest today is Mr Gyalpo Tashi, who was born in Jangthang, Ladakh. He attended Upper TCV School in Dharamsala and is an alumnus of the University of Delhi. Tashi is among the first businessmen to establish a Tibetan company ‒ Omalaya ‒ in Ladakh, along with a Ladakhi partner. This year, on Tibetan Democracy Day, four outstanding Tibetan entrepreneurs were awarded seed money by the Tibetan Entrepreneurship Development Programme of the Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA’s) finance department. Tashi was amongst the winners and was presented with Rs 400,000 by the CTA’s political leader, Dr Lobsang Sangay. The award was made possible through the support of the Dalai Lama Foundation, Montreal, Canada. Tashi, please explain to us how you came up with the idea for your travel company. GyalpoTashi:  I once visited France and met some French people who, upon learning that I was from Ladakh and had worked as a guide and interpreter of Buddhism, said they wanted to visit the country. They asked me to arrange a tour and this is how the company was started. In 2010, I ran a tour programme for three groups and in 2014 we hosted 25 groups. 2014 was special, because we arranged for the groups to meet a shaman, join Introduction to Buddhism sessions, as well as touring in and around Leh. RFA: Omalaya is based in Dharamsala and receives groups from around the world, especially France. Besides Ladakh, do you visit other sites in north India? GT:  Our main programmes are in Ladakh, as the landscape, culture and pilgrimage sites are very similar to those of Tibet, which is more difficult to visit. We also run tours from Dharamsala to Bodhgaya and Nepal. Next year, we also plan to take a group to Bhutan.   RFA: You’ve said you were proud to win the award ‒ to be encouraged to develop your business so that you can give more […]

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The Rock Roof Temple of Ladakh by Stéphanie

Rock Roof Temple in Ladakh

22 August 2015

Thakthok Monastery Thakthok Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located near Shakti village, 46km east of Leh. The name ‘Thakthok’ means ‘rock roof’ and both the monastery’s roof and walls are built from rock. Thakthok is the only Nyingma monastery in Ladakh and is home to around 55 lamas. It was founded around the mid-16th century during the reign of Tshewang Namgyal, on a mountainside around a cave in which Padmasambhava is said to have meditated in the eighth century. Every year, on the ninth and tenth day of the sixth month of the Tibetan calendar,celebrations including sacred dances are held at the monastery.   ‘To Earth’, a poem written by our Enlish-language editor Matthew Singh-Toor (Meditation whilst sitting on a wall opposite the Rinpoche’s residence At Thakthok Monastery)   Three boxes, Rectangular, Side by side, The middle box shorter, No divide. (The Rinpoche within Nods). * Three boxes, Uniform Against rock. Rock chaotic, Strata diagonal. Hewn and polished Spliced and eroded, Fissured and curved, Corners rounded.   (The Rinpoche within Muses on A line of scripture). * Four windows Cross-barred black, Grimy, Reflecting grey In heavy wooden frames. Maroon frames, Black borders, Thick paint On the whitewashed façade Of dripped plaster. Discoloured.   (The Rinpoche within Presses his fingertips together). * Five prayer flags, Yellow, green, red, white, blue, Against rock, lichen-rusted And the vast blue sky, Deep and flat and even, Ready to engulf.   (The Rinpoche within Listens). * Five creatures, Moo, chirp, buzz, bark, coo. Flutter of wings, flags, polythene against broken window. Shush and hush of breeze. Roar and honk, approaching, receding.   (The Rinpoche within Murmurs). My eyelids droop closed. * Fingertips graze rough plaster, Skimming chalky over sun-warmed distemper. Palms grow gargantuan to cup rounded corners. Eyelashes flutter over prayer flags, Flutter-tickled in return.   (The Rinpoche within Looks down from the window) * To earth, sand and scrub, Rock chipped, shattered, Shards scattered. I revive in the dust, Prostrate.   (The Rinpoche within Sees everything).

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An interview with a Ladakhi writer Nawang Tsering Shakspo by Stéphanie

Nawang Tsering Shakspo

05 August 2015

‘The Solitarian Guest House and the Father of Saboo’ Known locally as Abley, or ‘Father’, Nawang Tsering Shakspo is an Omalaya’s partner and the proprietor of the Solitarian Guest House in the village of Saboo ‒ one of the accommodations Omalaya uses on its Ladakh tours. Nawang worked for years with the Jammu and Kashmir government and is an expert on Ladakhi history and culture, as well as being a highly respected member of the community. Here, he talks to Matthew Singh Toor, Omalaya’s English-language editor, about his life, as well as providing an introduction to Saboo, which is located around 7km from Leh. Matthew Singh Toor: Where were you born? Nawang Tsering Shakspo:  In upper Leh, in a village called Sankar. The monastery there used to be the residential palace of Bakula Rinpoche, who is considered the founder of modern Ladakh. MST: Tell me about your education. NTS: I was born in the year 1952 and in the year 1959 I was selected for one of the Government of India scholarships. Otherwise, I was to visit Tibet and become a lama. In the year 1959, China occupied Tibet. Prior to that, there was a tradition ‒ the young go to Tibet for education and to become lamas. So, I was to become a lama but, since that road was closed, around the same time, upon the request of Bakula Rinpoche, the Government of India’s Ministry of Culture sanctioned 16 scholarships for 16 Ladakhis. I was selected for one of them. At the time, I was only seven years old. In those days, there wasn’t any road to Srinagar but Indian Airlines was operating a quota aircraft ‒ a small one. The scholarship was in Varanasi . The route to Varanasi goes via Srinagar. So we availed the chance to travel by air to Srinagar. Then from Srinagar to Jammu, Pathankot and Varanasi. I remained in Varanasi almost continuously for four years. I couldn’t come to home because there wasn’t any road. MST: What was the name of the institution? NTS: The Maha Bodhi Society. This is one of the most prestigious Buddhist institutions even now in the country. We were given accommodation there. I remained there till the completion of my intermediate level education, after 15 years in Varanasi. Then I did my BA course, then one year postgraduate in journalism at Varanasi Hindu University. After that, I returned […]

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Happy 80th Birthday His Holiness The Dalai Lama by Stéphanie

08 July 2015

Long Life Prayer for His Holiness the Dalai Lama From the pureland surrounded by a ring of snow mountains, The source of benefit and happiness without exception, All powerful Tenzin Gyatso, who is Avalokitesvara, May you remain steadfastly until samsara is exhausted. May your activities be as all encompassing as space! We wish His Holiness Happy 80th Birthday and pray for his long life. Team Omalaya

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A joy of 6th July Birthday of Dalai lama-Trungkar in Ladakh by Stéphanie

Tibetan girl in traditional dress for the birthday of HH

30 June 2015

 Trungkar is the Tibetan word for ‘Dalai lama ‘s birthday’ and this year marks the 80th Trungkar of His Holiness the Dalai Lama – celebrated on June 21, according to the Tibetan calendar, and July 6, according to the Western calendar. On July 6, the whole of Ladakh, where the Dalai Lama is revered and respected by Ladakhis and Tibetans alike, will be in festive mood. The Trungkar will be celebrated at the Jivey Tsal (Peace Garden), at His Holiness’ residence in Choglamsar, around 7km from Leh. Preparations will begin on July 5, with families and larger groups setting up around 100 tents and reserving areas for stalls, which will be filled with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, now available after the long, dry winter. The Trungkar will begin at the Jivey Tsal’s main temple at around 8am, with a long-life prayer for His Holiness and an incense-burning offering. The official function will be launched at 9am by the Chief Representative Officer, Sonamling Tibetan Settlement of Leh, Ladakh. All government and NGO officials of local and Tibetan bodies will be invited to the occasion. The programme will include speeches from invited dignitaries and traditional dances performed by Tibetans and locals alike, marking their mutual respect and friendship. After the function, the crowd will relax and enjoy picnics with family and friends. Food and drink will be available from stalls at the site. As well as local Ladakhis and residents of Sonamling Tibetan Settlement, the Trungkar is always attended by students and children who travel home from every corner of India and also from abroad. Reunions of long-lost friends are a common sight at the event. As the day progresses and the heat subsides, people will begin to sing and dance in and around their tents. Youngsters will enjoy modern English, Ladakhi and Hindi songs, whilst elders will join together for the Gorshae (traditional folk dances) of Tibet’s various regions. There will also be performances by the bands of the Indian Army Special Frontier Forces’ Vikas regiment and Ladakh Scouts, continuing until dusk. By the time people pack away their tents, they will be already looking forward to the next Trungkar, and dreaming that it might be celebrated in Tibet.

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