MATHO/Mangtro(1): Back to Ladakh And A Wonderful Stay At Matho 快乐再访拉达克及初至玛透

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Last time when I came to Ladakh, I was physically ill. This time I was mentally unfit. Yet each time this place simply recharged me back to a happy and well state shortly after arrival.

Maybe it is because of the blue sky and fresh cool air, or maybe simply because it feels like returning home whenever I come to high attitude places (Leh is at about 3500m high).


Also, unlike in Delhi, Ladakhi people are friendly yet do not bother you excessively, or at all. As Lonely Planet put it, Ladakh is a rare place in India where it is traveler friendly and yet so hassle free.


Luding Khenchen Rinpoche’s monastery, Mangtro Monastery (Matho Monastery), is about 30 min away by car from Leh. The monastery is just amazingly beautiful, located on a hill top, surrounded by snow capped mountains and overlooking the Matho village.
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Lama was very kind to let me stay in his room right by the monastery so that I do not need to travel from Leh everyday to see their famous annual oracle festival. Staying close to the monastery also saves me from climbing up to the monastery from the village.

His nephew and niece were also very kind taking care of me. They do make me feel very much welcome here.


Last night, Phuntsok brought me cakes, bread, jam, spread cheese and various things as he was worried that I might not get accustomed to the food here — but actually Lhamo, his young cousin now studying in high school, has been serving me so much food with her wonderful cooking. I can not recall myself being able to cook anything at all, not even an omelet, in my high school days, so am really impressed at her cooking talent.


As I really do not need so much food, I turned down some other stuff but happily accepted the cakes. Even seeing the cakes makes me happy. It is the considering gesture that makes me feel so touched.
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110314 Ladakh 106Everybody warned me that Ladakh in winter would be extremely cold. I told Lama that that I can live in very simple place, just need a bed to sleep at night, but please find me a bed in a room with fire! ( was thinking of the traditional fireplace in Tibetan family).

No electricity and water was expected, but actually he has a mini solar system good enough to power the lighting, TV and my various gadgets. Moreover, he borrowed this gas-heater which Indian government provided to the Choglamsar flood victims (Lama’s youngest sister lost her house and everything in the flood).

The heater heats up the room very well. Indian government can exceed expectation sometimes.



110316 Mathok 011One day I asked Lhamo to take me to Leh. It was a pleasant bus ride – a photo of HH Sakya Trizin worshiped in the bus and  throughout the trip, there were always some ladies chanting mantras.

Also very impressed at how the youth would always yield seats to the senior. I really appreciate Matho people!



View from the rooftop in the morning (my morning is after 7am while Lama left his place every day at 3:40 for the 4am Hevajra Puja!)
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I did tsog offerings for two consecutive days. First day was the 10th based on the Chinese calendar and the 2nd 10th day was based on the Tibetan calendar.

110315 Mathok 038There are many birds in Matho. Every morning when I went up to the rooftop, there were always over 10 of these pretty birds resting there while all offerings had already been completely taken 🙂 Though I am quite fond of the monkeys in Manduwala, knowing birds having enjoyed my offerings does bring extra joy.




On the night before the last day of Hevajra Puja and the 3rd night of the appearance of the two Rongtsen oracles, there is this amazing light-cloud circle around the moon, formed by smoke-like clouds while stars can still be vividly seen in the clear sky. With the moon light, it seems like a ring of light surrounding the moon. Again, pity that my camera is not good enough to capture this amazing vision.
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The last day of Hevajra Puja was concluded with the dissolution of the sand mandala. The two oracle monks also came. When they are not in trance, they have head and face completely covered with long shawl, which adds more mystic flavors to their majestic being during this special period.

Standing close to them is an aweing experience.




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