Sunday, March 29, 2009
Tibetan Mask Dances at Tashi Jong
Tashi Jong lies 12kms from the small town of Palampur, about 60kms east of McLeod Ganj. This unusual monastery was founded in 1969 by the Drukpa Kagyu tradition, which is one of the schools of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. There is a tantric learning centre with about 140 monks and 400 members of the lay community.
The monastery made national news in 2006 as it attempted to mummify the body of the 84 year old Togden (a spiritual leader) Lama Amtrim, a meditation master who spent more than 10 years as a recluse.
Tashi Jong are celebrating the birthday of Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) by performing a series of Tibetan mask dances over the next eight days. Padmasambhva brought tantric Buddhism to Tibet and Bhutan in the eighth century, and is revered by the Nyingma sect as the 2nd Buddha. To celebrate his birthday there will be performances of a variety of mask dances over an eight day period. As taxis are quoting Rp950/Rp1200 one way/return, I will endeavour to find a place to stay in the area.
It should be a very colourful and unusual photographic opportunity, although they can be quite long and boring, and often accompanied by some screechy woodwind instruments. I will see how long I last. Keep an eye out for the next in the Works In Progress on my picasa gallery which will be linked here when possible.
Palampur is famed in Himachal Pradesh for its tea plantations although is of no personal value to this coffee addict.
Feeling somewhat stronger after a bout of Delhi Belly, I just hope the weather is dry and I don´t get too bored too quickly.