Monday, July 6, 2009

Om Mane Padme Hum

Living with the Himalayan Masters

Monastery (Gompa)

Gompa or Monastery as defined in classical Tibetan texts, means a solitary place, somewhat removed or isolated from social settlements. Earlier Gompas were built on flat ground and laid out like a Mandala – representing the cosmos in miniature, with a sacred centre and cardinal points at the four directions. Later gompas especially in Spiti, were built at greater heights due to fear of invasions.

Method of construction

With the topography of the land, the local architects have only one material to use –mud. Of this they make bricks. The process is painstaking and involved kneading mud like dough, compressing it to eliminate air bubbles, shaping the bricks and then drying them for a fortnight in the sun. the Gompas have massive and wide walls at their base, strong enough to take the load of successive stories, which tend to become thin, higher up and have window like-opening.


Chorten in Tibetan stands for Stupa is a reliquary structure that commemorates an auspicious occasion or ceremony, or is a repository of the relics of important monks and saints. Each part of chorten has a special symbolism, representing the elements of earth, fire, water, air and space. Often chorten on high passes and pilgrimage routes are simple heap of conical heaps of stones, with prayer flags and offering scarves. From time to time travelers add a stone to the pile, making their own contribution to the construction of the chorten.

Mane stones

Large Mane stones carved with the sacred chant Om Mani Padme Hum are stacked on the top of other to form walls. Often the Mani walls ends at the entrance to the village, where there is royal entrance called the Kankani, reminiscent to the torna at Sanchi.


Mandala is a representation of universe and is usually made of stand or wood and then destroyed after the ritual. The four gates of the Mandala are the homes of the four deities: Kubera, the lord of wealth, in the north, Vimdhaka, in the south, Dhritarashtra in the east and Virupaksha in the west.


Anonymous said...

This blog is going to hit someday
great collection....
really like yr latest update of Parang-la

Geetika said...

It is just amazing Sanjay. I really have no words to describe it. I too would love to visit these places. Really really beautiful. it is just heaven on earth.