The monks , like any other wise men and sages, has always intrigued my thoughts. Their presence built a calm , curious and mysterious light inside my mind. And hence , in my journey to Spiti , I had the chance to live with them for sometime and here is my brief experience of what I came to know about their beginnings.
Having a wise man in a family , helps the family to grow and be together in peace and happiness. He can guide them through the tricky times of life. And who better a wise man than a monk.
Hence, In Spiti it is a common ritual that every family or house , that has more than a single son , gives away one of them to the monastery. So Rinchen , youngest among his siblings was destined to learn the ways of the monk.
A monk begins his life just like any other human kid being sent away to a school. He has the same innocence and unknowingness of the world around him. He makes friends there and lives with them. The school however , here , is ran by the monastery. And their take of education is lot different and unconventional. A normal kid in school starts their first class learning alphabets , where as monks first lesson is how to breathe properly. This helps them to first built up a mind capable of learning, which helps them to learn more and diverse in faster speed. For they know the techniques of learning now.
The monks learn a lot of subjects like the normal kids among us do in school to grow up and become a knowledgeable human. His subjects here includes sports , martial arts and knowing to read ancient texts , which tells him about his past and the traditions he is part of. He is not just bound by the rituals , but learns the meaning of them and the importance it holds
For a lot of outside world , this might seem cruel , that one of the kids are sent by their parents to the monastery without being asked for their own choices. But it is no so cruel if you understand, the whole world actually works like this only. When a normal kid is sent to school or dragged to a temple or church , he has no choice but to accept his parent's wishes and their beliefs. Kids do it without questioning untill they are learned enough or grown up enough to see the reasons behind it.
Similarly the monks through his younger years are taught to be learned and wise. The monasteries might have a lack of expert teachers when it comes to modern science and subjects , but they are able to teach their monks the old ancient wisdoms of men. Men who lived a happy , peaceful , purposeful life with content and fulfillment. The monks are taught a lifestyle both healthy and happy , spiritual and physical growth is inevitable. And by the time they grow up , they have the choice, if they want to lead the monk life or go back to normal beings.
So the life of monk does ask a lot sacrifice. He let's go of a lot things, that the normal kids never do, only to receive smile , pure and purposeful, that accompanies him till his last days.
To know more about monks and monasteries, high up Himalayas , join an adventure soon with me!
India is blessed with adventurous highways that makes road trip what they are. And topping the list would be the Manali - Spiti road , for various reasons.
The landscape is absolutely mind blowing, with high and tall mountains on both sides and rivers flowing by your side. Crossing two high altitude passes that makes up in any bucket list and going through some good forbidden regions of the world surely.
Here are some images and stories from my latest endeavour on this highway.
As you fly past Manali in the beggining, the lush green mountains entertain you till the high pass of Rohtang Pass. Road is good here , tarred and smooth. However it is twisting and turning due to the altitude gain your car has to do in every metres.
Rohtang Pass connects the lahual valley with Kullu valley. And this is the junction where roads diverge to LADAKH and Spiti. Also the bumpy ride starts here.
From Rohtang to Kunzum pass , it's the grandest adventure. There is no road with tar or pitch. It's all just soil and boulders. Also you need to cross a lot of natural streams. Crossing the water can be fun also dangerous , if there are flash floods happening. A lot of attention and care required during the drive surely.
This road is pretty sick and devastating. Breakdowns of big vehchiles keep on happening. Specially where the roads are really bad due to the streams. This causes massive waits, and one might get stuck in the middle of nowhere throughout the night. Happened with me last year.
People have no choice but to wait out as one by one the traffic gets cleared. Surely the people here knows how to hold on to patience. You will mostly see them smiling even if waiting over the boulders.
Finally once you reach kunzum pass , a plethora of prayer flags awaits. And with that awaits the valley of Spiti all yours to explore.
To see the full video of the journey from Manali to Spiti , go to my youtube channel. Link on the header or Home page. Hope you will enjoy.
Note from the Author
" Travel made me rich and free. Magic and miracles are true , once you wander on the roads to places different and divine. Sharing with you all, those memories and stories , and wishing you all , that someday you guys travel far and wide too. I am not a great writer , so ignore my grammar and spellings, read it with feelings, and you might just be affected with the wanderlust to hit the road"