Key Monestry, Spiti Valley, HP

Key Gompa (Kee,Kye,Ki)
Height: 4,166 m (13,668 ft)

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Built in the 11th century, this is one of the largest Monestry in Spiti Valley. The breathtaking architecture of this Monestry and the gorgeous view all around it, is sure to leave you spellbound!

Key Monestry stands tall till date even after facing a number of attacks, wars, fires & earthquakes. We were lucky enough that we visited this place on a day when it is believed that Buddha delivered his first sermon (Dharamchakra) according to the Tibetan calendar (the 4 noble truths).

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There was a special prayer held to celebrate the same. We were told by the facilitator that we will be allowed to sit and witness this prayer for not more than 5 mins initially. However, they were kind enough to accomodate us for the entire prayer. We also got to spend some time talking to the Lamas here for a while.

The prayer was so enchanting, that it took us to a world of peace and bliss altogether. Just sitting there, quiet, our minds became quite too. I couldn’t believe I was witnessing this beautiful occasion amongst so many Lamas. This had always been a dream. I was so lucky to come face to face with this beautiful coincidence of visiting here on this special day.

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There was a cake that was first offered to the Dalai Lama after which we were all given small pieces of the this cake. We were asked to take a small bite from it and put the rest back into the tray. These pieces are in the name of ancestors and the spirits that protect us.

After the entire prayer is done, we were again given a piece of this special cake and toffees. The prayer left us with so much satisfaction and a feeling of calm that our trip felt so complete after witnessing this event. A feeling of content, a feeling of awareness and compassion. That we are all humans, one and the same.

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We were allowed to explore the prayer rooms of this Monestry which is more than a 1000 years old. We passed through dimly lit passages, making our way through tiny doors. The rooms were all different from one another in terms of architecture. Each room, an ancient beauty!

There were also a lot of individual chambers, dedicated for meditation. I was lost in the world of imagination. Thinking about all the Lamas coming from so many generations, attaining spirituality and enlightenment, sitting right here, in these chambers.

We then found ourselves in a kitchen were we were served herbal tea. We then headed out from Key. If finding peace had levels, then visiting Key and witnessing these events that occurred here, gave me the highest level of peace that I have ever felt in my life.

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As we began to walk out of the Monestry, pictures of the Dalai Lama, from when he was a little kid up till now, smiled at us. A smile so warm that it is sure to stay with us forever. A smile that will be a  beam of light during darkness in life, a ray of hope, during the times of despair to carry on with life. Reminding us that life has to go on and we don’t really need everything that our hearts desire to be happy. That happiness, is a state of mind.

What are your thoughts on life and happiness? Do let me know in the comments below. Also, follow me on instagram for more travel stories.

Selenophile Diaries

The Little Birdy in Narghota

Naddi, is a beautiful small village close to Mcleod Ganj in Himachal. This place was where I stayed during my visit to Himachal. After a couple of days in Naddi, I came to visit my friend who stays close by in another small village called Narghota. Narghota is situated in the southwest of Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh. I reached here by a local bus from Naddi. The bus rides here are thrilling and feel like you are on an adventurous ride in an amusement park. People here are very sweet and are always ready to help. The guy from the hotel where I stayed, helped me get a bus to Dharamshala, the conductor told me where exactly to get down. I was thankful I asked him to tell me when my stop came. I would end up way ahead of my stop if he didn’t tell me where to get down. While travelling locally in a place that you are little or not familiar with, it is always best to ask people for a little help beforehand.

I finally met my friend at a mall called ‘Maximus’ which was a small but pretty mall. The mall was clean and well maintained with a lot of outlets to shop and dine. But what caught my eyes was that, there was also an open corner for a sunset viewpoint, which I obviously did not miss.

Maximus Mall, Himachal Pradesh

My friend’s house is a 15 minutes’ walk from the mall. She asked me if I wanted to take a cab but I chose to walk. It was dark, about 7 in the evening. There were hardly any people around and the walk was fantastic. I was surrounded by the beauty of the mountains all around me. Even though I could not see the mountains clearly, the lights shimmering about from the villages close by in these Mountains, was a beautiful view that made my heart feel light from all the chaos inside my head.

As soon as we entered her village, a familiar smell made my nose tingle, the smell of cow dung it was. The sounds I heard were familiar too. The birds chirping, the cows mooing and their bells, the whistling wind and the green fields, all these reminded me of my native, Udupi. It is beautiful how nature is one and the same and yet so different at the same time. We reached her house and her Nani was the sweetest! I really enjoyed the food that she made as everything she made was like a party for my taste buds. I ended up eating Dal rice, Khadi, Thil ki Chatni, mango pickle and an authentic Himachali dish called Bhadi which is made out of sun dried dal. My Morning was again another party for my taste buds with Mixed veg paratha, dhahi and butter along with a strong tea.
All geared up for work after all the amazing food, I now sit here at their balcony which has an amazing view of the Dhauladhar ranges and greenery all around. I could not help but write about this moment that I am experiencing..

I hear the whistling of the cool breeze, sensing the touch of it on my skin. I also feel the warmth of the sun kissing me Good Morning. It is a feeling of gratitude that I feel towards nature, that I can sense these two things at the same time.

I hear the chirping of the birds, the rustling of the leaves as they depart from the trees and fall down to become manure to the ground for more trees to come, I hear people talk from far down the mountains and kids running around carefree. Occasional sounds of the vehicles that are far away along with the humming of the bees all around me. It is a feeling of gratitude that I feel towards nature, that I can hear all these things at the same time.

I can see the hazy snow covered mountains far away, which marks the last layer. The layer before that are the rich green mountains with buildings here and there. I can see trees that look like broccoli far away, I can see the trees with all their details close by. I see a birdhouse hanging by the tree beside the balcony. I am unsure which bird it belongs to. It could also be a beehive, I cannot be sure, but all I know is that it is beautiful.

I see a sparrow is interested in me. She comes by the balcony and sits on the rail. As soon as I look at her she flies away. She comes back again and looks at me. I look at her from the corner of my eye and write as though I cannot see her. She continues looking at me as I write here at this moment. I wonder what she is thinking of me. Is she thinking what is this stranger doing here? Or does she think I look familiar? Do I look funny to her? Does she think that I am a threat perhaps and is studying my every move to safeguard her family? Or does she want to be friends?

I do not want to look at her for at this moment, I like her company. She makes me feel welcomed; She makes me feel like she can read my mind. On beautiful days like these, a birdy’s company is all I need. All I feel is gratitude towards Nature that I can see and sense all these things at the same time.

This article is dedicated to the little birdy that kept me company that day. I will never forget the comfort of her presence that day. Life is all about little moments like these. I hope to make many many more to fill in my box of happy memories.

Do you have such simple and small but very beautiful travel moments that you can never forget? Do let me know in the comments below!

Contemplating Simple Things

I woke up with a heavy heart this morning..
A part of me felt empty..
So I looked outside my window pane..
The mountains wished me good morning..
I smiled looking back at them..
Just then, there were butterflies dancing outside..
As if asking me to cheer up and hop out of my bed..
So I opened the doors to my balcony and in came some fresh air..
Whispering a sweet sweet song into my ears..
Reminding me that it’s a beautiful world out there..
And there I was, feeling complete again..
.
Some mornings are not just about waking up..
Some mornings are meant for your soul’s calling..
.
Nope, it’s not meditation..
It’s contemplating simple things that has always been there around you! ❤️🌼Contemplating Simple Things

Little Bansu

Little Bansu came running to me while I was least expecting..
I held him, this precious little thing..
So fragile .. just 20 days old..
His heart beating rhythmically..
His eyes looking at me, as though he always knew me..
With so much trust & so much love..
My heart felt full with the look he had in his eyes..
Content, was what I felt, with evey second that I spent with him..
Love comes to you everyday..
In small pieces, making you complete little by little..
Adding value to your life, helping you make sense out of this thing called life..
And in these small moments, are you really living!
And these moments, are the ones that really count!

PC- Abhiram
Selenophile Diaries ©

Here’s a video of how I spent some time with little Basu