Women of the mountains~ a few clicks from Alchi village and Khalsi Tehsil in Leh district, Ladakh. It was harvest season and a time I did revisit some of my favourite poets.
Ladakhi women wear a flowing robe called sulma usually paired with a loose blouse called tilin, a bright coloured sash or skeyrak is tied around the waist. The women, even the poorest, wear neck-pieces made of precious or semi precious stones everyday! Turquoise and corals dominate their accessories. Most of them were wearing dangling ear rings too. It was a fascinating sight to see that even the old women have long hair, made into two braids.
“Reaping and singing by herself; Stop here,or gently pass!”
(Wordsworth’s The Solitary Reaper )
“The thankful receiver bears the plentiful harvest” (Blake)
“Your hay it is mow’dand your corn is reap’d, Your barns will be full your hovels heap’d”
“Earth is so kind… just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with harvest” (Douglas William Jerrold)
Nestled among the mountain folds is this quaint little village Lamayuru in Ladakh (11,890 ft above sea level). A dramatic topography which resembles the surface of the Moon and an enchanting monastery atop a hill render Lamayuru a unique, timeless charm. Lamayuru monastery, built in the 11th century, is one of the oldest and significant monasteries in Ladakh. Legend has it that, the place was a vast lake which got dried up by saint Naropa to lay foundation to this monastery. It is believed, after the drying up the the unusual rock formations and moon like craters appeared on the land. The yellows and maroons of both the ‘gompas’ and the attire of the Buddhist monks stand strikingly stark against the barren, rugged sparsely vegetated, monochromatic landscape. The bubbly & gleeful novice monks effortlessly running up and down the steep stone steps amazed me, who found climbing every ten steps a struggle!
Another interesting piece of information I chanced upon is, in Ancient Rome a man’s beard style could throw light on which philosophical school he belonged to! The Romans were impressed by the distinctive styles of beards the Greek philosophers were sporting. As soon as Rome conquered Greece in the Battle of Corinth and ‘imported’ the Greek philosophers, they followed suit. It is said that Horace humourously remarked, “Captive Greece captured her rude conqueror”(here’s the link to an interesting read).
Two interesting words that I came across recently are derieved from the Greek word pogon. One is ‘pogonotrophy‘ (beard growing) and the other is ‘pogonotomy‘ (shaving or cutting of a beard). That led me in reading many interesting facts on beard growing! In the Victorian era doctors were believed to prescribe growing beard as a prevention from illness; whereas during the time of Alexander the Great, pogonotomy was banned in his army, as he thought the enemies would find grasping his sodiers’ beard an easy task! So that could be called as pogonophobia ?
A sadhu from Rajasthan, India
November being ‘Movember’ and ‘No shave November’ I thought of sharing a few photographs of bearded men and thus break my long break from blogosphere! Here I go starting form today.
Standing tall on the busy Dinh Thien Hoang and Phan Dang Luu intersection is the Gia-Dinh Gate in Ho Chi Minh City. The bright yellow gate captures the attention of any any passer by.
Gia Dinh Gate was the gateway to the Ecole de Dessin Gia Dinh , an arts school in Saigon founded by the French in 1913, that provided further studies for students from Thu Dau Mot School of Indigenous Arts ( Ecole d’Art Indigene de Thu-Dau-Mot) and also for students of Ecole d’Art de Bien Hoa . Thu-Dau-Mot School gave training in woodwork and lacquer-ware whereas Bien Hoa School of Arts was teaching ceramics and bronze-casting. The institute produced many prominent sculptors and painters of South Vietnam.
In 1955 The Saigon National College of Fine Arts was opened close by and after the Reunification of Vietnam in 1975, the two schools were merged to form the Ho Chi Minh City of Fine Arts. Later, all the the teachings were confined to the new building of 1955. The original Ecole de Dessin Gia-Dinh was demolished and paved way to Truong Cong Dinh Secondary School. However, the regal looking gateway was preserved and it stands the test of Time.