Tabo: About a life untouched


An eight hour journey, on the
world’s most risky roads, can be each tiring and exhilarating. But the
views of the craggy peaks whooshing previous the window, the spectacle of a
turquoise ribbon of river cutting via the valley, hundreds of falls and
streams merging into the river, and the bends taking you from 1 slice of
paradise to the other, are a prize worth the madness of getting on the world’s
deadliest roads. And though the bus previous these, nicely framed image ideal
frames, my thoughts weaved a story of a land of Buddhist Gompas doubling up as
landmarks, prayer flags fluttering, mummies sitting nevertheless in monasteries, azure
blue skies and stars dancing in galaxies at evening, and above all the cultural
mysteries it has held more than time. I wanted to know how neighborhood persons reside their
life right here, holding organic and mystical mysteries for centuries. A land that
wasn’t open for persons till 1970s, a land tucked amongst the Himalayas and the
Tibet, a land that has been named ‘world inside a world’ by Mark Twain I
wondered how that land would be.

The village of Tabo as observed from the cave monastery

Spiti, the Himalayan area in
north-western Himachal Pradesh, is starkly distinct in its landscape from the
rest of the State. Barren mountains, fierce Spiti River, and huge swathes of
emptiness broken by tiny villages. The bus stopped at random shots, a modest
gompa, Buddhist prayer flags fluttering, a border roads sign-post, and a random
tea-shop, acting as indicators of civilization. I was on an eight hour journey from
Rekong Peo to Tabo, a slice of Spiti prior to the major town Kaza. Completely momoed
and maggied, at about 5 in the evening I reached Tabo, following passing
via extraordinary landscapes from Kinnaur to Spiti, previous the dot like
villages of Nako, Changu, and Sumdo. The ride took me via the lush green
mountains of Kinnaur to the rugged moonscape of Spiti with just a handful of villages
in amongst.

Living the higher life

Tabo appears just an additional dot, a piece of Shangri-la, or a tiny Himalayan playground for adventure lovers. Certainly it is far more than a cease-more than. The Tabo monastery is set in the center of the village, a wooden board outdoors it says that the monastery, the oldest in Spiti, was constructed in 995 AD. Even though it calls for spending some time, figuring out it and the new monastery constructed subsequent to it, I checked into a quiet homestay perched alongside an apple orchard. A sip of butter tea, had me going for some conversations with my host on neighborhood life, the monastery, and likely the most intriguing, the harvesting season of apples. As it is stated, that a superior conversation often leaves you far more knowledgeable, I got to find out that Tabo apples are amongst the most prized ones in the nation.

A random shot taken of the village. As I ventured far more, and interacted far more with locals, I got far more knowledgeable about Tabo &#x1f642
The new monastery of Tabo, Spiti valley

Dawn had set in, and I decided to
take 1 eyeful of the town from the hills, exactly where an additional art piece waited for
me. Stairs on the hills took me to the cave shrines, exactly where a millennium ago
monks stayed. As of currently, the caves lie in a dilapidated state, nevertheless a hike
to the caves, provides adequate angles to capture the beauty of the landscape. A flight
of concrete stairs requires you to cave shrine with a temple, a kitchen, a hall,
and some splendid murals that are stated to date back to about the time Tabo
Monastery was constructed..  

Ajanta of the Himalayas

Tabo is rightly quoted the
‘Ajanta of the Himalayas’ for its painted wall murals. From the cave shrine,
1 can capture the oldest monastery, with its nine temples and handful of stupas,
hunting like mud-homes. The exterior of the monastery is craggy brown with no
sign of what art and history, the interiors hold. From a distance, the red of
the monks’ dresses appear the only visible indicators of the coloured planet. Alongside
the mud monastery, stands the brightly coloured lately constructed monastery.

I began my monastery tour from
the major temple named Tsuglagkhang or the assembly hall. In this oldest
structure in the monastery, the 1st sculpture that I met was of Ganesha,
hinting at the spiritual osmosis Spiti is. There are paintings in the hall,
dating back to 17th CE. Almost everything looked so old and preserved, taking
you back ages. A tiny more than a minute, and I got the feeling that the assembly
hall needs far more time. All 4 walls have 33 stucco operate Bodhisattvas
sculptures, sitting on intricately painted walls. On 1 of the wall is painted
life story of Buddha whom the locals often get in touch with Sakyamuni Buddha. The walls
have layers of history, holding stories for 1000 years.

There is tiny light coming from
the shaft in the middle of the ceiling, but even in that darkness, the murals
appear mystifying. In the inner sanctum, the walls are covered with a 1,000
paintings of the Buddha. Even in that virtually dark setting, the painting
gleaming gold, leaves you floored.

The old monastery of Tabo is identified as Ajanta of the Himalayas

Immediately after resolving some of the
mystic of Tabo monastery, I headed towards the new monastery, gleaming like a
beacon of hope in the cold desert. The monastery had closed by then, nevertheless the
stroll via the gompa and monastery was inspiring. It was 7:30 pm

Guge Kingdom

Kings of Guge kingdom had constructed
this monastery beneath the path of translator and monk Rinchen Zangpo.
Ringchen Zangpo was a student of Nalanda University. He brought Kashmiri
artists to operate on this monastery and therefore, you can see Kashmiri influence in
painting designs.

Enroute Dhankar village from Tabo

To keep You can opt to keep in the homestays in the village. For a distinctive practical experience, monastery also delivers keep alternatives for INR 400 a evening.

(This report is a element of the series capturing my travel to Lahual-Spiti, a cold desert perched higher in the Himalayas, in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India)


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