Friday, May 25, 2012

Journey behind Mt. Everest (video)

Amber Dorrian, Seven, CC, Anand, Darius, Lindsey, Wisdom Quarterly 
() The road to Buddhist India on the "rooftop of the world" is mystical and cold.
The Goddess Tara (Jamyang190)
The Western Buddhist world needs an adventure. Come on a fantastic voyage. Travel writing takes us there -- until we gather the gumption and go.
From the plains of the Ganges, in the remnants of the Indus River Civilization, rise the great Himalayas. What is behind them?

There, a disputed Indian state called J+K is replete with summer wonders. The K is for Kashmir, a lush valley sung into legend by Led Zeppelin.

Dal Lake and ornate wooden houseboat hotels, surrounded by war and spiritual pilgrims, neo-hippie backpackers and Muslims menaced by India's military, all overwhelm the senses. Jesus (St. Issa) is buried nearby. Giant weeds grow nine feet all, and it's weed (Cannabis sativa). No one cares. Addicts sell their passports and drift along in miserable underworlds for worse substances.
But overland and faraway awaits the real wonder -- Leh, Ladakh, and the marvel that is the Shanti Stupa. It is very hard to find authentic "Tibet." It may no longer exist in Tibet. China has undermined it and set up a Han Disneyland in its place, with noodle stands all around Lhasa.

() Ladakh is India's northernmost state between the Kunlun and main
Himalayan range. It is a sparsely populated area in Kashmir and one of
the few remaining Buddhist regions. Video by Ananda S. Nadadur.
(Maybe Mustang, Mt. Kailash, or Shangri la and Shangri-La have traces, but the Potala Palace was ransacked and never reconstituted). "Tibet" substitutes can be found in Ladakh, Dharamsala, Bhutan, and Nepal in micro-cultures so influenced by the once great Himalayan imperial seat that it's like being there again.

The road to Leh, Ladakh, Buddhist India (PiotrHalka/
Leh is the capital of Ladakh, a region of Jammu+Kashmir state in Himalayan India. Ladakh is the home of Hemis Gompa, where Notovitch found written records of Jesus Christ's sojourn as a Jewish-Buddhist bodhisattva-style teacher. Kashmir, according to historians Elmar Gruber and Holger Kersten, was a Jewish trading post along the Silk Route linked to Egypt and Jerusalem in those days.
Leh, Ladakh, India (Piotr Halka)
But the road to Leh is almost as amazing. It is the highest passable highway in the world. Ladakh is the rooftop of the world. It is a desert since very little moisture can hurdle Mt. Everest and the Himalayan range. There is snow melt in green rivulets where hamlets spring up. And below in the gully there is  a grand emerald "Colorado River" feeding the great rivers of India.
The fume soaked bus lurches at a yak's pace. It's impossible to sleep bouncing on old springs. Honking is constant as vehicles meet on the precipice of a one-lane sky way constantly subject to landslides and being washed out. It is maintained by hand poured tar and gravel. "Speed up," "slow down," what to shout?

Look to the right, out the window, and see the vehicles that didn't make it. The only rules of the road in this lawless land are honk and get out of the way. Did anyone survive; are the bodies still inside? 
  • ADVICE: Take a cab, hitch on a truck, book a plane, or meditate and astral travel; anything is better than the bus, which grinds on for two days.
The strangest difference traveling from Indo-Muslim Kashmir to Indo-Buddhist Leh is how much quieter, gentler, and kinder it gets. It is awe inspiring. There are no "FREE TIBET" stickers seen; they have been replaced by "SAVE LADAKH FROM KASHMIR." Many brash, culturally Middle Eastern businessmen come to Leh to set up shop, drive hard bargains, and ruin the local culture. TO BE CONTINUED

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