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TOPIC: Local Culture
July 23rd, 2010

A Visit to Thiksey Monastery

Today we went on our first field trip. Our guide from the heritage center took us to two monasteries. What a day.  The first one we went to, Thiksey, looked like a small city perched on a hill upon arrival. The paintings on the ground and the brightly colored carved entry gates immediately caught my eye. I couldn’t help looking for tattoo ideas. The art all over both monasteries was amazing. The details in the paintings are beautiful.

The first room we entered was a space to house a 50’ Buddha. At first I didn’t want to take any pictures. I just sat for a while taking it all in.  Everyone else seemed to take pictures so I captured some details that I wanted to remember. The walls told a story of the Buddha. Though I didn’t understand it all, it was still beautiful. Plus the details gave me many ink inspirations.

We spent a couple hours at the first monastery, and we could have spent more. The dark rooms filled with figures and statues captivated my imagination. The cultures of this area have such an interesting take on spirits. Many of the statues faces were covered only to be unveiled for festivals. It was almost a little creepy.

Our guide Sonam told stories of his family spending time there when he was young and explained all the changes that he has seen.  I can’t imagine how different it would be for him, once being one of the young boys playing on the grounds and now taking tourists from all over the world on tours of his home.

The view from Thiksey was amazing; I could have stayed up there all day. I wandered to the top of the building and found a locked library and another closed door with a sign that said, “no ladies allowed” in English and Sanskrit.  Once again, I was reminded how far from home I was.

Anne L’Esperance

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TOPIC: Local Culture
July 23rd, 2010