Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

17 August 2007

On the trail of the Buddha

Spiti has much to offer to travellers in search of enlightenment. And even if you aren't searching for enlightenment, but only interested in the art & architecture of this wonderful faith, there is much to satisfy you here.

Om Mane Padme Hum - the sacred mantra can be seen everywhere. Carved on rocks piled on the roadside. Painted in lime on the slopes of the mountains. Pasted in little slips of paper on doorways. This faith is alive and benevolent.

Chortens or Stupas:

The chorten is one of the earliest forms of Buddhist architecture. In Buddhism, the body, speech and mind are considered the primary components of a person. Where the Buddha is concerned, paintings or statues represent the body. The sacred texts of the Buddhist cannon and tantras represent enlightened speech, and finally, the stupa or chorten represents the enlightened mind of the Buddha.

The mud chorten shown in the picture above islocated in Tabo & the concrete one is in Kibber.

These lovely copper chakras are located outside every monastery. These are rotated clockwise s an act of devotion.

Tenzin, the friendliest lama on Buddha's earth, informed me that the Zimshung is the room where His Holiness the Dalai Lama conducts prayers when he visits the Kyi monastery. The little yellow band all around the window (it's only partially visible in this picture) indicates that this is the room in which he usually stays at Kyi.

There was also a room called the Kuntung. It contained a marvellous large silver chorten inlaid with coloured precious stones. However, since the lamas were at prayers, it did not feel right to photograph the room.

Scriptures I saw in the Zimshung at Kyi monastery.

I noticed this wonderful ornamental structure atop the roof of Kyi monastery. Since the lamas were all at prayer, there was no opportunity to ask them what it symbolises. (There were six other such ornaments).

More about Kyi tomorrow.


Anuradha said...


did y take the bus to spiti ?

i plan to go there later this month..


Gallimaufry said...

Where in Spiti are you headed? And from which direction?

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