The Hemis monastery is really old and set in a valley high in the mountains above the Indus River. It was wonderful to be out if Leh and to see something occur countryside and to motor through the villages and see how the people live - so once again that is what in doing and loving it!!
The festival was to celebrate the birthday of the guru who had run the monastery who had died a year or do ago. It was pretty crowded with westerners whose guides had kept them seats so everywhere we tried to settle we were moved and shunted on!! Sanghitta took some super photos with her very fancy camera - I was using my cell phone as Jen took my camera to the teachings. We watched as the monks dressed up in amazing head gear and robes and performed ritual dances while accompanied by all manner of musical instruments - long oboes, drums, bells, caste nets, flutes, horns with flags and pennants hanging from everything! The masks were amazing. I loved the way the performers seemed oblivious to the onlookers as they performed for their own enjoyment. I found a place at the top of the steps to the open courtyard/ arena where the performance took place. The monks in different regalia for each performance all emerged from the shrine room behind me so I was able to see them up close before they headed down the stairs. I then went inside the shrine room. What a feast - very old with beautiful murals on the walks - once again I wished Jennifer had been with me to explain what was being depicted.
The monastery with I guess monks living quarters set into the mountain side.
Above are a few snaps from the morning.
Very hard to give you a real idea of what it was like. We had to remember the number of the taxi's number plate in order to be able find him. We then set off to visit another monastery Thicksay monastery which is set highly up on a mountain spit skip and boasts the highest Buddha in Ladakh - 40 feet high!! We had lunch there as we were both hungry by now having had no brekkies. We then did the your of the monastery - absolutely spectacular with the most amazing views of the country side and surrounding mountains. Sanghitta has loaded all her photos from the day on Jennifer 'a laptop and I think Jen has included some of them in her blog, so do check.
So it turned out to be a fabulous day with no sign of a misbehaving tuy!! Maybe my t knew I actually wanted to watch the final (not a happy camper that roger didn't pull it off, especially after winning 5 games in a trot to take the fourth set!!) and also that I couldn't face another hike at sparrows to the teaching. Anyway we passed Jennifer and Mia walking back into town after their midday nap. I as happy to be back home and did some reading. A really super day - thank you Sanghitta.