Kargil , Ladakh

Kargil lies on National Highway 1D which connects Srinagar to Leh , it is on the banks of Suru river , the name is from two words “Gar” means in local language “Any Where” and “Khil” means central place “where any one can stay”. Total population of Kagil 80% follows the Shia faith of  Islam and are inhabited in Kargil, Drass and lower Suru valley, Tibetan Bon Buddhist are mostly in Zanskar valley with small population in Shergol, Mulbek and Upper Suru valley.  There are about 4%  Hindus and Sikhs . Most of the people are of Burig and Balti of Tibetan origin mixed with Dard , Mon and Aryan people.

Kargil City view from Leh-Srinagar Highway

The Tibetan influence is seen in Kargil and Leh people , the Islam came here with Persian influence which has lots Persian words , phrases and even the religious songs in their language , the marriages are solemnize with common rituals of  Buddhist and Islam customs .

Mt. Nun & Mt. Kun from Suru valley trekkers hot spot

It was a transit point of caravans on their way to and from China, Tibet, Yarken and Kashmir till 1949, but since 1974 with the influx of tourists the region has been replaced as center for tourism related activities. Tourists traveling between Zanskar, Leh and Srinagar stop for  a night stay , before proceeding for onward  journey.

People visit Kargil with the memories of 1999 India and Pakistan conflict as it lies very close to the line of control .

Bomb Shell splinters holes fired from Pakistan

The Suru river flows through Kargil , Suru valley extends till the Pensi-la where there is a famous peaks of Nun and Kun , Karaste kar is a small village on Leh highway where 9 meter tall rock carved statue of Maitriya Buddha attracts the tourists from far places . There are other magnificent Stupas and rock carved statues to be seen in Suru valley . Most of the trekkers take a hike to  the Nun- Kun view saddle (3810mtr. ) in the Parkachik ridge. It is a  3 hours of walking along the slopes  overlooking the fertile valley below.

Pakistani post was captured and pushed behind this peak

The road connection from Srinagar is open from May till November , rest of the year there is a heavy snow in the Zoji-la , this area is cut off by road in winters from rest of India , the Indian Air Force  operates few flights to help the local people to come in out of the valley. summers are warm with cold nights , Drass which is 56 km from Kargil is coldest inhabited place in India. The only  road link to Zanskar  is from Kargil .

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Ramabhar Stupa,Kushinagar Lord Buddha’s Cremation site

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Ramabhar Stupa Kushinagar Lord Buddha’s Cremation site .

It is said that Lord Buddha died at the age of Eighty One years, on a full moon night . It is believed that  Lord  Buddha’s complexion became prodigiously brilliant both on eve of his Enlightenment and Nirvana. After the Mid night,Lord Buddha called up his disciples thrice, and asked if there were any confusions remaining with regard to the Buddhist doctrine. Receiving silence as reply, Buddha gave the famous advice “impermanence is inherent in all things. Work out your own salvation with diligence”. After this last sermon Lord Buddha entered Mahaparinirvana through meditation, the monks spent the rest of the night discussing the Dhamma. Over the next few days, the Mallas made elaborate preparations for the cremation of the Buddha’s body, and then on the seventh day the body was taken out of the town to the Makuta Bandhana Shrine and cremated.

Ramabhar Stupa , the Cremation site of Lord Buddha, Kushinagar

Ramabhar Stupa , the Cremation site of Lord Buddha, Kushinagar

It is said that the pyre was not burnt until Mahakashyapa, the great disciple of Lord Buddha, arrived and when he stepped into the cremation ground, the pyre burnt automatically. Surprisingly, only the skull bone, teeth and the inner and outer burial garment remained after the cremation,  the holy relics had to be divided into eight folds and eight great Stupas were built to house them. These relics were yet again subdivided, when Emperor Ashoka decided to build 84,000 Stupas,  the relics are contained in many Stupas.

Buddhist Monk at Ramabhar Stupa , Kushinagar

Buddhist MonkatRamabhar Stupa ,Kushinagar

Hirannavati River , near Ramabhar Stupa
Bank of Hirannavati River  near Ramabhar Stupa

Ramabhar Stupa, measuring a height of 49 feet, is the place where the Lord Buddha was cremated. This Stupa is mentioned as Mukut-Bandhan Vihar in ancient Buddhist transcripts.

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Kushinagar, Kushinara, Buddhist Temples city

Kushinagar , Kushinara as the Buddhists call it  or Kushawati as it was known in the ancient time , this city has mentions in the epic Ramayana as city established by one of  Lord Ram’s twin sons the Kusha , it  was also the seat of power of Malla’s kings .

Situated on the banks of river Hiranyavati the lord Gautam Buddha breathed his last ( the Parinirwana) and also deliver his last sermon.

Most of the ruined Stupas,Viharas were of a period 5th BC when its prosperity  use to be at peak .

 

Entrance Gate Kushinagar , Kushinara , India

Entrance Gate Kushinagar , Kushinara , India

The present Stupas and Vihars are constructed after the 1904-05 AD excavations carried out by British officers of Archaeological Survey of India and unearth rich wealth of Buddhist materials .

Maahaprinirvana Temple Kushinagar , Kushinara , India

Mahaprinirvana Temple Kushinagar , Kushinara , India

The Mahaparinirwana is the place where Lord Buddha breathed his last , lying between the two Saal trees , head towards North .

Thai Buddhist Temple at Kushinagar

Thai Buddhist Temple at Kushinagar

 

Myanmar Buddhist Temple Kushnagar

Myanmar Buddhist Temple Kushnagar

 

Beautiful gate at Myanmar Pagoda, Kushinagar , Kushinara , India

Beautiful gate at Myanmar Pagoda, Kushinagar , Kushinara , India

 

Lin Son Myanmar Buddhist Temple, Kushinagar, India

Lin Son Myanmar Buddhist Temple, Kushinagar, India

 

 

Chinese Buddhist Temple , Kushinagar India

Chinese Buddhist Temple , Kushinagar India

 

Japanese Buddhist Temple , Kushinagar, India

Japanese Buddhist Temple , Kushinagar, India

 

Korean Buddhist Temple Kushinagar, Kushinara, India

Korean Buddhist Temple Kushinagar, Kushinara, India

 

Bell at Mahaprinivana Temple complex

Bell at Mahaprinivana Temple complex

 

Gold foils pasted by pilgrims at Ramabhar Stupa

Gold foils pasted by pilgrims at Ramabhar Stupa the cremation site of Lord Buddha

Lord Buddha was cremated on the banks of river  Hiranyavati

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Stongdey Gompa, Monastery, Zanskar, Ladakh

Stongdey Gompa , Monastery also called Stongdey Marpaling. One of the most fascinating attractions in Zanskar on a hill-top about 10 km from Padum on Zangla road, established in 1052AD by famous translator Lama Marpa Larsawa desciple of Lama Naropa , four centenary later it was taken over by Gelugpa sect of Buddhism . It belongs to the Tsongkhapa order, which was introduced by Lama Gyaltsanpa Tundup Palzangpo.

Stongdey Gompa, Monastery, Zanskar, Ladakh

One can reach here trekking for three hour from the main road.

 

Stondey Gompa, monastery , Zanskar, Ladakh

The sprawling whitewashed complex has a number of temples, each a repository of the region’s rich monastic legacy . There are seven temples in all. The Tshogs-khang is decorated with exquisite painting including some with deities on a black background outlined in gold , major attraction of the monastery consists of the gorgeous wall paintings adorning its interiors.

Stupas at Stongdey Gompa Zanskar, Ladakh

The Lamas serving at Stongdey are the successive reincarnations of Nari Tulku  over 950 yearsaround 60 monks who live in the monastery have built a school for the Tibetan children of the area to keep the Tibetan culture and language alive .

Every year the  Gustor Festival is held on the 28th and 29th day in the eleventh month of the Tibetan Calender, the monks perform the sacred dance in the monastery.

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Tallest Statue of Lord Buddha,Sarnath,India

Sarnath  is about 10 kms. from Varanasi also is the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon to five of  his companions( Kaundinya, Bashpa, Bhadrika, Mahanaman and Ashvajit ) in 500 B.C. The place has a number of Stupas (hemispherical domes) and monasteries. In the early days of  Buddhism, Stupas were built to honor important events including Gautam’s enlightenment to become Buddha .

The Tallest Statue of Lord Buddha at Sarnath India

The Tallest Statue of Lord Buddha at Sarnath India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eighty feet tall statue of the Lord Buddha, which is the world’s tallest  statue after the ones demolished in Afganistan’s Bamiyan valley . It took 14 years to construct this statue. The work on the statue was started in 1997 and it was unveiled in 2011. This standing statue of Lord Buddha is located in the premises of  Thai Buddha Vihar in Sarnath also known as  Mrigdayavan Mahavihar Society.. The construction of statue is said to have started as a gesture to protest the destruction of Buddhist statues in many parts of the world.

 

Statue of Lord Buddha at Sarnath

Statue of Lord Buddha at Sarnath

Located in the garden of the Thai Temple in Sarnath, the statue consists of  845 stones blocks  each about two feet wide and three feet high and the head alone is 15 feet tall, There is a beautiful garden around the statue . Built in Gandhar style, the statue is  placed on a Lotus symbolising the spread of religion from India to other parts of the world with the message of love and peace , The octagonal pedestal have engravings depicting four important Buddhist religious places, including Dhammek Stupa, Bodh Gaya and Lumbini . The total cost of construction was contributed by a number of Buddhist and non-Buddhist devotees across the world

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