Many a traveler on the tourist trail leading from the Taj Mahal into the desert state of Rajasthan goes to the ‘pink’ city of Jaipur and then very often is headed for Pushkar, Udaipur or Jaisalmer further west.
What about the blue city of Jodhpur? What’s wrong with it? I often wondered. Is it not recommended enough by guidebooks like the ‘lonely plant’? are people really rushing their way through this most beautiful part of india? it is probably a combination and it’s a pity anyway, i would say. More than once people told me they arrived in the morning and then take the train in the evening again. Those are the moments I praise myself for having all the time in the world (let’s not talk about the money)
Contrary to Jaipur everything is in walking distance here and condensed around and under the Mehrangarh fort. It was easy to spend two weeks in this gorgeous atmosphere spinning between the blue houses, wandering around the tiny streets, photographing ‘the guard’ at the fort (among many other characters I stumbled upon in the alleys) and going to Ramesh (‘a real Bombay barber’) for my regular shave and face massage. (watch the video at the end)
Namtso Lake is the highest saline lake on earth. Renowned as one of the most beautiful places in Tibet. Its cave hermitages have for centuries been the destination of Tibetan pilgrims.
Namtso has five uninhabited islands of reasonable size, in addition to one or two rocky outcrops. The islands have been used for spiritual retreat by pilgrims who walk over the lake’s frozen surface at the end of winter, carrying their food with them. They spend the summer there, unable to return to shore again until the water freezes the following winter. This practice is no longer permitted by Chinese authorities.
The Giza plateau sits just outside of Caïro and, while still in the outskirts amidst the hustle and bustle, the first glimpse I catch stirs a deep sense of familiarity.
Right upon arrival I am stunned by touring buses, one after the other coming and going and I spend a good part of my first day here observing the mass tourist behavior, which has been intriguing me for many a year.
It’s on my second day that I feel ready to plunge deeper into Giza and its wonders. I approach the Sphinx from all possible angles and I stumble upon the entrance to the great pyramid. It turns out to be officially closed, but a friendly guard takes me aside and tells me smilingly to pay him no more than the normal entrance fee so I have the whole big pyramid pretty much all to myself it seems.
I ascend the steps first leading to the Queen’s chamber and then way further up I enter the legendary King’s chamber. It is said that even Jesus the Christ received an initiation in here, as it was customary among the Essenes at the time. The thought moves me along with the notion that the chamber could not have been much different than 2000 years ago. And even though we were taught at school that the pyramids were burial monuments, a mummy or remains of one, have never been found.
There is growing evidence concerning the multi-purposed function of the pyramids being generators of energy and the sarcophagi being devices for vibrational healing through sound. As I impulsively get into the sarcophagus, I already hear people approaching–some VIP’s who are allowed in after the regular hours. In order to avoid scaring someone off, I climb out again and soon commence my descent.
I arrive in a similar fashion at the entrance of the ‘second’ pyramid (the one with the little ‘rooftop’, the rest of the marble was taken off by Muslims to decorate their mosques)
This time the guard sticks to me, quite literally, and I actually give him tips to have him at a little more distance. I realize my time has become limited now and I sense the atmosphere here is VERY special so what to do but give him a few Egyptian pounds…
he follows me to the inner core. I ask him to take a few pictures of me while I lay down humming in the sarcophagus; I spend the remaining time in meditation, as much as I can stay present.
what strikes me here is I get exactly the same feeling as in some Shiva temples in India where the energy is very powerful. The same energy field is very much present here in the same juicy way. Later someone would explain to me that in this culture the name ‘Osiris’ would be more appropriate, two names possibly hinting at the same cosmic constellation or alignment.
Even though not felt as utterly urgent, Lumbini has been on my list for many years as I had been on a pilgrimage to the most important sites associated with the life of the Buddha in India, but I never made it to Nepal (apart from a quick passage through Kathmandu on my way to Tibet).
Now that I have been Trekking The Annapurna Trail, Lumbini was conveniently on my way out of Nepal and back into India. It’s situated on the grassy plains of southern Nepal and the climate here is pleasantly warm in november. A few months ago it was unbearably hot here as I heard more than a few people utter sighingly.
It was very weird to approach Lumbini by bus as even two hours before the actual arrival sign posts said we were in Lumbini. I was headed for the Korean temple, the only place where non-nationals can reside. And all my encounters with Koreans had been great so there we went, me and the cycle rickshaw driver in the quiet of dusk flanked by trees and the lovely smell of dewy grass.
Even though many rent bikes to explore the huge area I did it all on my two feet the next day. Also to test my brand new real fake comfy walking sandals. Pretty much every buddhist country has a temple and/or monastery here. Even non-buddhist countries like Austria, France and Germany and it has to be said (and who would expect it – not me) the German temple is simply stunning, adorned with the most exquisite art and wall paintings. in-cre-di-ble…
I did not enter the grounds where the actual spot is of Buddha’s birth as it was always flooded with people. just circling around it gave me much more peace and quiet and it was even better to soak in the specail vibe here coming from the legacy of one of the most revered people that ever walked the earth. Even though Kushinagar (the place where he passed away) really moved me much more I gotta say.
Siddharta (prince) Gautama’s life was very much associated with trees. His mother gave birth under a tree, he found enlightenment under the bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, gave his first sermon under a tree in Sarnath. I enjoy photographing the statues of baby buddha surrounded by the trees here.
Lumbini is also the playground for Nepal’s school youth who naturally are more interested in fooling around with each other than connecting with their heritage. but I was no different their age so I willingly play along as once again they wanna go on the photo with me looking at me as if I were a movie star and verily, I realised in the end how annoying is must be to really be one! So I count my blessings and appreciate how luckyI am to just simply be me…
The Isis temple of Philae sits on a small island in the river Nile near the city of Aswan in southern Egypt. It’s a major tourist attraction, and as it goes with the Egyptian destinations, they are not necessarily tailored to a solo traveler like me. This I realised once again as I saw one after another tour group embarking on the boats to the island. And these are not even the people staying on the big ships cruising the river Nile. I was lucky enough though to hitch a ride to Philae.
The Isis temple used to be located on another island but along with the inundation of the Aswan dam the temple and many monuments were recovered and repositioned on Philae and if you didn’t know you wouldn’t really notice.
Upon entering the temple’s interiors the atmosphere coming off the walls is pretty special, the murals soak you into the ancient world, a time long gone but in a curious way it feels as if it’s the present moment. I was lucky enough to be alone in certain places, also when face to face with a little bird in a hole in the wall who caught my attention for minutes at a time. Gazing into each other’s eyes, I received a nourishing transmission of some sorts…
There is a tremendous amount of stories surrounding Isis ranging from the mainstream legends and fables we are being taught in school. Then there is the more esoteric notion of the mystery schools of Isis of which Mary magdalene and Jesus the Christ might ‘ve been initiates. The goddess Isis is also connected to profound cosmology, associated with specific planets aligned to the ancient world.
No matter what might ring true to your inner ears, here’s the invitation to receive the power encoded in the murals of the collages below…
Even though Isis was the main deity venerated here, there were also shrines dedicated to the Hathors, multi-dimensional, extra-terrestrial beings who have been associated with numerous ancient civilisations of the past and most recently with ancient Egypt. (photo above)