Friday, June 13, 2014

Bhuddist Holiday

The monastery door

To witness the special day today, we re-visited the monastery and the main temple (where the Dalai Lama lives). A the monastery, the monks were chanting in beautiful, low tones. The mantras mixed with occasional gibberish-type noises made for such a soothing and fascinating sound. We sat on the side for a good half hour just listening and watching.
Monks chanting mantras/scripture
Many Buddhists came to pay their devotions. They entered and did prostration movements and then placed money on the altar and gave some to each monk. Some had kettles, and I thought maybe they contained tea until we saw them outside filling candle-bowls with oil. I need to look up more about this practice. Many also carried prayer beads, which we think are pretty neat.

People brought kettles of oil and went around the table to refill these candles/lamps
Many stairs later, we visited the main temple, which was far busier. I didn't get any pictures here because they don't allow cameras, but it was also neat. The biggest difference was that there were many beggars that gathered because Buddhists tend to give donations during this time. We were told by our friend Wendy (who we've been going around with for the past two days) that giving water might be a good idea, so we bought two 2 liter jugs to pour water into cups and hands and mouths. Some didn't really need the water, but some did, and it was nice to have something to give.

Afterwards, we searched around for a restaurant and ended up having an amazing meal. Too amazing - I way overate. It was a Thali - meaning a lunch plate with several small cups of different curries/dishes and rice and bread. Included were a few new things that we found out we LOVE - shahi paneer, dal makhani, and makhani paneer. I think they're more north Indian, and I hope we can find them in the U.S.
The best meal we've had - Bhagsu Thal
We rested for a little while, got cheep massages, and then I went to my cooking class. We made yellow dal (lentils) and aloo ghobi (vegetable dish) along with chapati/roti (bread) - probably the most basic, staple Indian foods. They were delicious, and I hope I can re-create them!

Now we're exhausted. We have been getting up a little after 5am because of the sunrise, but not getting to bed as early as we should with that in mind. Anyway, this morning we walked a few miles to swim in a pool fed by the mountain water. I didn't end up swimming, but Kyle did, and it was cold!

Below are some misc street pictures - finally a quicker upload!
A street view of McLeod
Buddhist prayer wheels in the middle of town
Some street wares

McLeod at night

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