I finally ventured outside of the relaxing confines of my hotel today, into the noise & bedlam that is Leh. It reminds me so much of Kathmandu when I visited there a few decades ago. Still pondering why some Westerners like to dress in hippy (colourful & ridiculously unfashionable) clothing when none of the locals do…..
Anyway, I stumbled upon the Gompa Soma smack bang in the middle of Leh around midday & it was clear there was something going on. A Gompa is where Tibetan Buddhists go to meditate, learn, have ceremonies, & give offerings. I grabbed a seat amongst the attendees sitting outside the Gompa, feeling a mild awkwardness that I was the only Westerner who had immersed myself into the festivity (you never find out if you don’t try), when I noticed a woman looking for a photographer.
Completely out of character for me (think not), I went & introduced myself, threw a few Tibetan Buddhist phrases around, & asked if she needed a photographer. Well, it turns out a very famous Rinpoche (recognised reincarnated Lama) was due to be teaching the Lam Rim at the Gompa in 20-minutes, & they needed someone to take some good photographs. Pick me! Of course I did offer my services, feeling a significant burden of taking the shots required, & also got the official photographer’s privilege of getting right where the action was – fabulous!
The first to arrive was a little 6-7 y.o. boy, a reincarnated lama, who I barely managed to get a pic of cause he just ran into the Gompa (hence the reason why the pic is out of focus). Then the 80 y.o. Rinpoche arrived & it was devotion all round. You could really feel the wise energy of this man.
Think I managed to capture a couple of good shots too…..