Clinging to rock faces or perched atop a rock outcrop, Himalayan Monasteries (known as Gompas) are usually built in the adobe style. Close by one will find Chortens, known in Sanskrit as a stupa. Built in a variety of shapes and sizes, they usually contain the relics of a respected Lama or Yogi. These beautiful mounds of moulded, and then painted mud, are to be navigated on the left hand side.
The images in this gallery are from festivals in the province of Kinnaur in Himachael Pradesh and from Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir.
The exception, is the image titled 'Street child, Kolkata'. This young girl, born into abject poverty, whose family lived and survived on the side of the railway line, sat with me for hours on the platform at Kolkata railway station while I waited for my train.
God bless her.
Over high mountain passes, across wide valley floors, the wind, communicator to all, carries the prayers of the Buddhist people. Sacred Mantras are printed onto the flags with usually a horse in the centre. The horse being a symbol of speed and of the element air, is known as Wind Horse and aids the flow of energy of the Mantras on the wind, bringing Joy, Happiness and good health to all people throughout the world.
In August 2000 His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gave a Kalachakra Initiation at Ki Monastry in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh to 25,000 followers. In July 2010 His Holiness then travelled to the village of Disket in the Nubra Valley area of Ladakh to inaugurate and bless a statue of the Maitreya Buddha at Disket Monastry.
Two great plates are pushing together, forcing the Himalaya higher. As these great mountains grow, so they crumble, due to wind and water erosion. The powerful sacred mantra 'Om Mani Padme Hum' has been carved onto stones and then placed by the roadside for over a millenia. Likewise, the mantra written on paper has been wound into prayer wheels and spun in a clockwise direction, by hand, water or the heat of a butter lamp for nearly 2000 years.
Presented here in this gallery is a selection of images portraying everyday life, of people going about their daily duties from, baking to painting and knitting to herding. One of the most important things I have learnt in life is that human kind is the same the world over. We are all doing the same thing, trying to survive.
A selection of Black & White images of India taken in the 1990's using traditional film. From the hot dusty plains of Tamil Nadu in the south east to the enchanting mountains of Uttaranchal in the north, from the fabulous city of Kolkata in West Bengal in the north east to the colourful deserts of Rajasthan in the west.
A religious ascetic or holy person in Hinduism is known as a sadhu and referred to as 'baba' by the common man. Leading extremely austere lives they often live in very remote areas to follow their life of renunciation, described as the fourth stage of life in Sanskrit literature.
It has been a very great privilege and pleasure to have shared food, traveled or lived with many of these very kind people featured here. Of all many things I have learnt from them the most important must be 'Less is More'.
Himalayan rivers are not small. During the monsoon or when the snow melts on the northern aspect of the Himalaya, the amount of water crashing down these gorges and valleys is monumental. They were never the highways and byways, supplies are transported via mule trains along treacherous paths, on jouneys taking days if not weeks. Nowadays, thanks to military need and tourist greed, great ribbons of black scar the landscape.