India 2008 # 11: More Monasteries, Spoilt Fish and the Near Death of Tinkerbell

Yesterday we wandered into the monastery down the road. We were able to go inside for their puja (kind of like a prayer service, I guess). The monks sat cross-legged in a row talking really quickly for ages (reading from books) while one of them beat on a drum at the same time. Pretty awesome multi-tasking! After a while, two of the monks blew on long horns, which fold into themselves telescopically. At the end of the puja, the same two blew on conch shells. Tibetan books are long and narrow and I don’t think the pages are stuck together like our ones. When they were finished with them, they wrapped them up in saffron coloured material. The temple was full of the most exquisite decorations I have ever seen in my life. Pictures of animals and various beings are painted on the walls and the ceilings. The fan even hung under a mandala! Now I’ve washed a few ceilings in my life and I know how uncomfortable it is just to do that. Actually painting the complex pictures they put up there just beggars belief! The doors have huge round gold handles on them with long tassles hanging off and even the foyer outside is painted with mythical beings, etc. Now I’ve never seen a stunned mullet in my life before but I betcha I was giving a pretty good impression of one!

Outside, the young monks were playing football with their shoes. As you do. I gave the smallest one, who was hanging out on the sidelines, a spinning top to play with and off he went as happy as a rat in a cheese factory.

Later on we walked to the monastery UP the road. This is where the birthday celebration had happened earlier in the day. We had gone there earlier to look at things, but as soon as we got there the heavens opened up and we had to go hide under the eaves of a shop for a while. (Thanks a bunch, Ernie and Leisa. Shoulda left that stick behind…) The second time there, we were escorted by the dogs we met on our midnight rambling the other night. They stuck with us until we left the temple again and wandered up the road with us. Two of them actually hopped up on a wall we were looking over to see the lake and wandered back and forward on it. I’m not sure if they actually realise they’re dogs! Perhaps they’ve been living around the monkeys too long.

Anyway, this temple was nowhere near as ornate as the other, but it did have some pretty impressive statues inside. They had some pretty cool chalk drawings outside on the courtyard too.

At dusk, I went to the hiding place I share with the monkeys and watched the general goings on around the lake. Dad, I’m sorry to do this to you, but I saw really big fish schmoozing around, quite clearly, just wandering back and forth. I could’ve walked into the lake, reached out and just grabbed them. I thought about you and Kevin – you both would have been drooling at the mouth and grasping for your fishing rods. Trouble is though, the locals feed these fish and are rather fond of them. If you did have a crack at some angling here, it’s likely you’d be the ones roasting over a slow fire.

Dinner time, we went to a trendy cafe (all the Tibetan ones were closed due to the important person’s birthday) and sat there for ages, listening to music and meeting people from all over the world. I saw a firefly too. Paul offered to squash it, but I threatened to tell his daughter that he’d killed Tinkerbell, so that put paid to that. Men!!

Later on in the night, we crept along the accommodation building’s roof to somebody else’s secret spot and had a drink or two, listened to some quiet music (thanks I-Pod creators) and talked for a while. That was really nice – candlelight, drinks in plastic cups (nothing but the classiest of ways for us) and a lake view.

Today we booked tickets out of here, so we are only able to enjoy this place for about two more days. Damn. I could really easily live here.

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