Sunday, May 12, 2013

Kailash Manasarovar Yatra -2012 -7


Boudhnath Stupa

Ornately decorated Entrance 

Continuing our tour of Kathamandu,  our next place of visit was to  Bodhnath Stupa also called as Boudha  one of the famous stupas of Kathmandu. Among the Buddhist stupas of Kathmandu  valley Swayambunath and Boudha are among the most impressive and  most visited monuments in Nepal. This is  one of the largest  stupa in  Nepal and one of the largest in the world.  it is a religious centre for Nepal's considerable population of Tibetan Buddhists and  there are lot of monasteries and  many small shops selling  Tibetan artifacts around Boudha.  

Impressive Boudhnath Stupa

Boudha is associated with Lhasa and Tibetan Buddhism. One of the major trade routes coming from Lhasa went through Sankhu and Boudha therefore lies at the Tibetan trader's entry to Kathmandu valley. They gave thanks for their  successful journey across the Himalayas, or praying for a safe return. All the Gompas are decorated with impressive mural paintings depicting  mythological scenes, and sometimes with Thangkas (painted on cotton, framed on brocade). The subjects are deities, great lamas, ritual mandalas and the wheel of life.

 Most likely the stupa was built some time  after 600 AD after the Tibetan King , Songsten  Gampo, was converted to Buddhism  by his two wives namely  Bhirikuti , the Nepali princess  and Wencheng Konjo from China. Both of them are considered as Green Tara and White Tara. The current  stupa was probably built  after depredation  of Mughal  invaders  in the 14th century. 

 Our group at Boudnath

The stupas are built on holy relics or to commemorate an event or place with a structure that symbolizes Buddhist beliefs. They are never hollow. It is believed that there is a piece of  Gautama Buddha's bone which is interred at Boudha.   The speciality of the base of Boudha is it is not square like in other stupas but four tired Mandala.  We saw lot Tibetans circumambulating tha stupa in all its four levels. The other aspects like dome, spire, watchful eyes of Buddha and 13 step spire are there in Boudha also.  Around the base of the   stupa's circular mound are 108 small images of Dhyani Buddha Amithaba. A brick wall around the stupa has 147 niches , each with prayer wheels bearing the  immortal mantra " OM Mani Padme Hum". On the northern side  of the stupa there is a small shrine  dedicated  to Ajima, the goddess of small pox.   

 Evening prayer

When we reached the Stupa it was already dusk and in the subdued light the stupa looked more beautiful with thousands of faithfuls circumambulating the Stupa  with prayer in this lips and pious in their eyes. In one of the shrines a prayer ceremony was going on.  Pop-corn packets , Biscuit packets , puffed rice, chocolates  offered by the devotees was heaped like a mound and the Lamas were reciting mantras accompanied with the loud sound of  drums, cymbals and trumpets and it was really dramatic. 


 Prayer  flags
While returning form Boudha to the Hotel,  Nawang Sonam  introduced himself. He told that he along with his fellow Sherpas   Ranjit Lamba,  Ram Tamang, Ram Touth Roy will be accompanying us into Tibet for the yatra.  Living in the mountains of eastern and central Nepal, at the foot of Mt.Everest , the Sherpas are the  best known Nepali ethnic group. They are originally from Tibet . Now they  name has become synonymous with  mountaineering and trekking. They have won worldwide fame for their skill  hardiness and  loyalty.

The great bell

After reaching the hotel one representative from Shreshta Holidays briefed us about the yatra.  He told that we will be travelling by bus  to the border town of Kodari   and will cross into Tibetan Autonomy region of China by foot through friendship. Then we will travel to  Nylam  for one day stay for acclimatization. From Nylam we will travel to Saga via La Lung La pass, after crossing River Brahmaputra  we will stay at  Saga for the  night. Next day we will be travelling to Prayang and halt there.  Our next stop will be Manasarovar after having the first darshan of Kailash. After holy  bath and a day's stay at Manasarovar on  full moon night,  we will proceed to Darchen for Kora which can be completed in three days.  From there we return by the same route.   He also informed that some two groups have completed the Kora and there is every chance that we will be also able to complete the Kora.

He advised us to take Diamox tablets in the morning and evening to avoid high altitude sickness.  Because of the laying of new roads on the Tibetan side the duration of the yatra is very less and there is no acclimatization possible so  they requested us to take the tablets.  He likened this tablet to life support,  and asked us drink lot of fluid to avoid loss of fluid due to administration of this medicine and wished us a nice yatra and successful completion of Kora.We packed all our things in the two  water proof   bags they  had provided and deposited unwanted items at the Hotel itself for collection on the return. They provided woolen coats for the needy at a  rent of Rs 500/- for use during the yata.  

No comments: