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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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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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Tibetan Medicine-The art of healing by Stéphanie

Lotus flower

07 June 2015

“From the balance of the elements, good health comes” – Tai Situpa Rinpoche Meeting of Science, Nature and Philosophy Sowa Rigpa – the art of Tibetan medicine is a highly developed, scientific, philosophical and natural system. It takes a holistic approach to health care and follows a systematic framework based on an understanding of the body and its relationship to the environment. Sowa Rigpa practitioners make their diagnoses using creativity, insight, subtlety and compassion, and embrace the key Buddhist principles of altruism, karma and ethics. Traditional Tibetan Medicine Tibetan medicine is human civilisation’s longest surviving medical system, and is used to treat all manner of aliments. Central to its practice is the interconnectedness of the five elements – earth, water, fire, air and space – which manifest in the body as the three principle energies of rLung, mKhripa and Badkan. These energies exist in a state of constant harmony and disharmony, due to internal and external factors including diet and lifestyle. Tibetan medicine uses simple but unique techniques, such as pulse, tongue and eye readings, urine analysis, and special consultation methods, to restore harmony to the body. Most medical disorders are primarily caused by poor diet or lifestyle, but if correcting these fails to restore harmony, the use of medicine is considered. Tibetan medicine places an emphasis on gentle treatment, with the prescription of small doses of decoctions, powders, pills and syrups. Sowa Rigpa is an integral part of Buddhist philosophy and emphasizes the cultivation of love, compassion, joy and equanimity to achieve optimum health and happiness. Physicians are expected to observe high moral and ethical standards, and take an altruistic attitude to patient care, with no discrimination over caste, creed or colour. Personal Health Consultations with Amchi Tibetan amchi are highly trained practitioners of Tibetan medicine. They give private consultations, employing healing practices and sometimes herbal treatments. Tibetan Medicine has a high success rate in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, hepatitis, eczema, liver and sinus problems, anxiety, and disorders of the nervous system. contact Omalaya Travel for workshop on Tibetan Medicine: info@omalayatravel.com

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The profound joy of travelling by Stéphanie

Night in mountain

30 May 2015

The fourteenth century explorer Ibn Battuta famously said  that Travelling leaves you speechless and turns you into a storyteller. He couldn’t have summarized the joy of travelling more appropriately. Of all the stories one can find in this world, the best ones are found in between the covers of a passport. How true! Travelling is more than just having a bucket list of places to visit and jumping from one place to another. It is an experience in itself, one that creates memories for a lifetime. When we travel we open our hearts and eyes to new and wonderful experiences. Only when we travel do we realize that the stereotypes we hold about other countries, races and culture are not necessarily true. In fact, the freedom of travelling whirls us around, turns us upside down and stands everything we took for granted on its head. One is reminded of Aldous Huxley’s words “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries”. The reasons to travel are aplenty. Some travel to discover themselves, some to travel to find peace, some travel because they love to while some travel just for the sake of travelling. Whatever the reasons might be, the experiences are very likely to be profound. Otherwise, why would countless people even forsake their careers and normal lives just for the sake of joys of travelling. There have even been cases of people who have visited every country in the world. To them every place is their home, every person is a friend and every day is a new horizon. However, one doesn’t have to quit his/her work or study an become a full-time vagabond. Travel can most certainly be an unobtrusive hobby. In fact, travel is one the best ways to oneself from the stress and mundanes of normal everyday life. In a way travelling is a tool to keep our minds and spirits awake and lively. One can even go on to say that travel is a heightened state of awareness in which we are not only mindful and receptive but are ready to be transformed. That is why the best travels do not end!

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Why you should go on a spiritual journey at least once in your life! by Stéphanie

Spiritual journey

29 May 2015

People go on all kinds of travel: adventure travel, weekend travel, business-cum-pleasure travel, long-term slow travel and so on. However, there is one kind of travelling that we all should consider trying at least once in our lives – the spiritual kind. Well, first of all, what is a spiritual journey? In simple terms, a spiritual journey is one that creates a positive change in your mind. On a deeper level, it is one that helps you in the process of finding your purpose in life. The obvious question that comes to mind is how can travelling help us  in these regard. Well, the answer is it might or it might not. Only those who can experience a profound joy in travelling are capable of finding a higher purpose in travelling. Having said that, why should one go on a spiritual journey? Well, firstly, travelling is more than just packing your bags and visiting new places. It is a feeling, an emotion, a source of joy and sometimes even a life-changing experience. To quote the famous words of H.C.Anderson, “To travel is to live”.  One might ask what kind of a journey can be classified as a spiritual journey. Well, the answer depends on the individual. One might find deeper meaning in visiting places of religious worship while one might be at peace with nature. There is no right answer to this question. However, any kind of journey that leaves a deep and strong thought about your life in your heart is inherently spiritual in nature. A spiritual journey is a journey that touches you inside. There have been countless instances where people have made life-altering decisions that can be attributed to a journey they had taken. When you travel, every day is a new landscape, a new horizon and endless possibilities. Naturally, it has a deep influence upon us. So, it is time to tie your shoe laces, pack your bags and start exploring.

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The Himalayas: a sacred land by Gokul

The Himalayas a sacred land

15 May 2015

In many religious faiths, mountains are held with a strong reverence and are associated with sanctity. It is perhaps because they rise majestically into the sky and stand tall above the rest of the world they are considered as religious abodes. The Himalayas, home to some of the tallest peaks in the world, is an eminently sacred land for many a religion. From Hindu temples such as Amarnath and Kedarnath in the west to Buddhist temples in Lumbini in the east, hundreds of temples are located all across the mountain range. Some of these temples are hundreds and even thousands of years old. Year after year, devotees brave challenging weather conditions and steep slopes to undertake pilgrimages to various places of worship in the Himalayas. These devotees come from many different religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Bönism. One particular peak, Mount Kailash is held sacred by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Böns alike. It would be no exaggeration if one were to say that Kailash is the most revered mountain in Asia. To know more about the religious significance of Mount Kailash, please click here. There is such might, such grandeur and such beauty in each of those majestic peaks that one cannot help but feel where else in this world can one be closer to God. Even if one were to view the Himalayas from a non-religious perspective, it is certainly more than just a range of mountains. It is the source of many a river in Asia – rivers that provide the livelihood to millions of people living in the plains.  No wonder the Himalayas is held sacred!

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