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Maryama heads the Marketing Department at Omalaya. She is french and fluent in two languages. In her spare time she takes bollywood dance classes, enjoys travelling, cooking and snorkeling.

Rishikesh, a perfect place for inner connection by Maryama

Rishikesh by night

05 June 2015

Throughout ancient Hindu times, saints and sages have traveled to Rishikesh in search of a higher awareness through meditation. Hindu’s believe this beautiful city to be one of the holiest in all of India. Westerner’s commonly know it as the yoga capital of the world. And all those who visit know it to be a powerfully transformative and breathtaking place. Located in northern India in the state of Uttarakhand, Rishikesh is the gateway of the Himalayas and it is here that Mother Ganga leaves the mountains, flowing out toward the plains on its way to Varanasi. Legends tell of Lord Rama doing penance here after killing Ravana, of Lord Agni meditating here after he angered Lord Vishnu, and other great Indian sages like Rishi Vashishta meditating in nearby caves for thousands of years, thus building up a powerful energy to the area that is still felt today. Yoga capital of the world Because it is a holy city, Rishikesh is vegetarian by law. You will not find meat or alcohol served within the city. What you will find are a cornucopia of yoga ashrams and studios, yoga teachers and students, and an atmosphere of learning and seeking. Famous yoga ashrams like Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram, made famous by The Beatles, Shivananda’s Divine Life Society, and Kailash Ashram Brahmavidyapitham, a 133 year old ashram dedicated to preserving and spreading Vedantic studies, are some of many beautiful institutions found here. Since 1999, the Parmarth Niketan ashram has been hosting the annual International Yoga Festival. The festival attracts serious yogis from across the globe who come to deepen and expand their yoga practice. In Rishikesh, and throughout India, yoga practice is not simply about asana. Serious students of yoga come here to meditate, to learn kriya and pranayama, to study Vedanta, and to immerse themselves in the yogic lifestyle. It is here, in Mother India, that yoga moves beyond the physical and into the inner world. Though the practice of the eight limbs of yoga (yama, niyama, asana, meditation, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, and dhyana) students move deeper into their practice. Source of the Mother Ganga Each evening people gather on the banks of Mother Ganga near Parmarth Niketan ashram for aarti. Aarti is a Hindu ritual in which small fire offerings are made to various deities. In Rishikesh the aarti’s are lead by the children of the ashrams. The ceremony begins with chantings […]

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Hindu places of worship in Dharamshala by Maryama

Butter Lamp in Dharamshala

28 May 2015

Though Dharamsala is renowned around the world for being the residence of the Dalai Lama, the guru of Tibetan Buddhism, this tranquil hamlet plays host to many an ancient Hindu temple. Hinduism and Buddhism co-exist peacefully in this beautiful hill town, located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Here is a list of some of the popular Hindu temples in and around Dharamshala: Baijnath temple The Baijnath temple is the shrine of Lord Shiva, one of the members of the supreme trinity of Hindu Gods. The mandir was constructed in early thirteenth century by two local merchants named Ahuka and Manyaka. The temple is an excellent example of medieval Indian architecture. The walls of the temple are adorned with beautiful paintings and carvings of numerous Hindu deities. The water in the temple is believed to contain therapeutic properties that cure people of their illnesses. A unique feature of this temple is the presence of the two Nandi statues (Nandi is the gatekeeper of Lord Shiva) unlike the other Shiva temples where only one Nandi statue can be seen. Devotees perform a famous ritual whereby they whisper their wishes into the ears of the Nandi idol and their wishes would be granted by the God. On a sunny day, one can be treated to spectacular views of the Dhauladhar hills of the Himalayan mountain range. The tall peaks stand majestically on either side of the Beas valley where the temple is located. Chamunda devi mandir Located on the banks of Baner river in Kangra district (approximately 15 km away from Dharamshala) of Himachal Pradesh, the Chamunda Devi mandir is the abode of the deity Goddess Durga, known locally as Chamunda. According to the legends, the Goddess killed the two demons Chand and Munda in a fierce battle, and was thus endowed with the title Chamunda Devi. The Devi’s idol is flanked on either sides by the idols of Lord Hanuman and Lord Bhairo. Devout followers believe that worshipping at this shrine would give them and their ancestors mohksha (salvation). The temple itself features a diverse range of images from various Hindu sacred texts such as the Devi Mahatmyam, the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha. These images vividly portray various aspects of Hindu folklore and tradition. Jwalamukhi temple Located in the valley of Beas nearly 60 km away from Dharamshala, the Jwalamukhi temple is believed to be more than 1000 years old […]

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Is there such a concept as Atheist spirituality? by Maryama

Atheism and Spirituality

24 May 2015

Atheists are more often than not perceived to be non-spiritual people. The foundation for this argument lies in the belief that the concepts of religion and that of spirituality are built on a common platform. Such a belief is not entirely false as there have been innumerable instances of people seeking for the meaning of their lives in their religious faiths. This is because religion consists of many narratives, principles, symbols and myths that define the ways and rules by which we as human beings should live. These tenets of religion many a time overlap with that of spirituality, which can be described as the process of realizing one’s meaning in life. However, it is a misconception to infer that this overlap means that religion and spirituality are one and the same. It is entirely possible for someone to be spiritual and not religious. For a deeper insight into this debate, kindly read our blog on the differences between religion and spirituality. Therefore, it is entirely possible for someone to be an atheist and still be a spiritual person. Spirituality is simply a term used to describe the search for one’s place in this world. Religion is just one of the tools that people employ in this search. For instance, it is possible for someone to find his/her purpose in charity instead of God. Such a person is definitely a spiritual person. In essence, self-realization is subjective and therefore specific to each individual. Hence, it is only obvious that not every individual has to make this realization by means of religion. That being the case, atheism is definitely compatible with spirituality. For atheists who are wondering the appropriateness of describing themselves and their attitudes using the term ‘spiritual’ the key question to be asked is whether such a description resonates emotionally with them. If so, then then it is most certainly appropriate for an atheist to call himself spiritual. In fact, in recent times, there has been a growing trend of people identify themselves as spiritual but not religious.

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Discover Bylakuppe by Maryama

Namdroling monastery in Bylakuppe

21 May 2015

Bylakuppe – a quiet and sleepy town located in the Southern part of the Indian state of Karnataka. It is easy to dismiss this tiny hamlet as an obscurity but there’s more to this town than meets the eye. It is home to the biggest Tibetan settlement in South India. Thousands of Tibetans have made Bylakuppe their home. What started has a refugee camp for Tibetans who fled their homeland during the 1959 Chinese invasion has now become a thriving ecosystem in itself. A quick stop at Bylakuppe is more than sufficient to get a flavour of the Tibetan culture, architecture, religion and cuisine. The town is build around the ornately designed Namdroling monastery, the largest teaching centre for the Nyingma school of Buddhism. Nyingma is the oldest of the four major categories of Tibetan Buddhism. Many ceremonies are conducted in the monastery every year, the grandest of them being the Tibetan New Year Losar (usually in the month of February or March). The celebrations run for over a week during which Lamas (Buddhist monks and nuns) take turns to conduct non-stop prayer sessions. The monastery also contains the Golden Temple which houses the three deities Guru Padmasambhava, Buddha and Amitayus. The statues are eighteen feet tall, plated with gold and seated next to each other. The atmosphere is breathtaking when the prayer sessions are in progress. Hundreds of monks chant verses in unison while drums and gongs ring out loudly. Zangogpalri temple, relatively modest when compared to the Golden Temple, is also part of the Namdroling monastery. The Sera Mey monastery and the Serpom monastery are some of the other places of interest in Bylakuppe.

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Omalaya teaches you how to make Momos by Maryama

11 May 2015

A momo is a dumpling that traces its origins to Nepal and Tibet. Today it is a popular dish not just in Tibet and Nepal but also in India. While it is a staple diet in Nepal, it is seen more as a quick snack in India. Although, in recent times, many variants have spawned to cater to the local cuisine, the recipe for making a momo remains pretty much the same. Watch this short video to learn how to make momos. The detailed recipe for making momos is given below: A momo consists of two parts – the outer covering and the inner filling. To make the outer covering: To make the outer covering, mix wheat flour, salt and a spoon of oil in a bowl. Add water in little quantities and slowly but firmly knead the dough. Set aside the dough in a closed container for nearly half an hour. Take a small portion of the dough and roll it till it becomes a small circle of 5-7 centimetres in diameter. To make the inner filling: When it comes to preparing the inner filling, the choices are virtually unlimited. One can choose from  plain vegetables to chicken or mutton or a combination of meat and vegetables. Chop the required filling to very small pieces and fry for a few minutes in an oil-pan. Add garlic, pepper and onion to enhance the taste of the filling. Once it is appropriately fried, take a small quantity of the filling and cover it with the dough. Steam boil the raw momo for 20 minutes and Voila! You have fresh momos ready 🙂 For more videos from Omalaya, kindly visit our Youtube page.


Buddhism and its four noble truths by Maryama

Buddhism and its four noble truths

05 May 2015

Buddhism is a major religion with nearly 500 million followers around the world. A religion that traces its origin to more than 2500 years ago, Buddhism is built on a set of fundamental principles known as the ‘Four noble truths’. They are: Dukkha Dukkha states that any phenomenon that is temporary or conditional is not  gratifying and is therefore a pain or suffering. Interestingly, when one views from the perspective of Dukkha, even life seems temporary and conditional. Buddhism even goes on to say that life is a suffering because it is impermanent. Samudhaya Since our very existence is not everlasting, chasing worldly pleasures and delights and expecting them to give us everlasting joy and happiness is a myopic venture. Samudhaya is a principle that says that the root cause of all suffering is desire. In the unquenchable thirst for worldly pleasures, we consume ourselves and in the end become frustrated and unhappy. Nirodha All our pursuits are subject to the cycle of birth, aging, sickness and eventually death and  therefore ephemeral in nature. Once we realise this, we can begin to control our cravings and start experiencing a peace of mind and happiness that is much more valuable that all the commonplace pleasures that we usually seek. Magga Magga is the medication that can cure us from our sufferings. According to Magga, suffering can be completely eliminated by correctly following a eight-fold path namely: right view, right thoughts, right language, right deeds, right livelihood, right efforts, right mindfulness and right concentration.

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