Thursday, November 30, 2017
Karsha monastery is one of the most spectacular monasteries because its a complex of buildings cascading down a steep hill side while maintaining more or less the same width from the top to the bottom like a calendar were unfolding unlike Thikshe that spreads out as it cascades down a not so steep hill.
The vast plain around helps to keep the monastery in view as you start driving towards it from afar, providing a perspective of its location, size and significance in its surroundings.
The Karsha Gompa, the largest in the Ladakh, is dated to 11th century AD, and is supposed to have been founded by someone who translated many Sanskrit Buddhist writings to Tibetan.
In the middle of the Dukhang, encased in glass, is a guilded mandala dedicated to Mahakala; depicting a castle, the mandala is 3 dimensional representation of the abode of Mahakala. It dates back 500 years and was brought from Tibet.
It was the Tamil Christian that accompanied us, and the driver, as I remember.
The motorable road stopped at a point.
To reach the monastery we had to climb a steep path though gravelled, cemented and some stairs here and there. I was happy to see my mother making slow but steady progress on that path without complaining, and actually smiling now and then. I even taught her to walk backwards when her limbs hurt, it was some ‘technique’ I had discovered very randomly and found helpful. She even tried it and reported to my father when we reached the hotel at noon. He had chosen to stay back. For him, it was the same gompa, same Buddha everywhere you went.
We also entered the abode of some monks. There were utensils, a fireplace, and 2 monks chopping carrots, beans and onions on a wooden board.
Fortunately it was prayer time and the prayer hall was peopled. We sat there for a while through the chanting.