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India’s first donkey sanctuary in Leh is helping the working animals with disabilities since 2008

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By Sakshi Aggarwal

In most of the societies donkeys are used as working animals, often forced to do more work than their small bodies can bear. And because they can be bought at a very cheap rate, they are often mistreated.

In the present age when rarely someone sheds a tear for the suffering and pain of other humans, it would be hopeless to even think that people would care for low-status animal like donkeys.

However South African photographer Joanne Lefson is one such being, who understood the plight of the donkeys of Ladakh region in India and took the initiative to set up the first donkey sanctuary of the country in Ladakh in the year 2008.

Respect for the lives of the donkeys in the sanctuary has been shown in such a manner like never before. The sanctuary is primarily funded by Joanne Lefson and the local affairs are looked after by Stany Wangchuk.

Donkeys inhabiting the sanctuary are primarily those which can no longer work, because of some disability or due to old age.

The sanctuary has not been established with the sole motive of profit. This is evident from the expenditure Joanne has to bear. The food bill of the donkeys sums up to Rs.4, 000 per day. The diet given to them includes wheat, biscuits, grass and medicines.

Moreover, the monthly rent adds up to Rs.30, 000 for the property. Joanne pays most of the bills for the sanctuary, managing 1 per cent from the donations.

However, some of the donors complain that why the donkeys are allowed to mate and conceive. They argue that there are already several other such donkeys, present outside the sanctuary, which need help.

Joanne talking about his experience says, “It has been a fantastic experience so far- and I plan to return each year to feed my ‘children’ carrots and everything else that’s sweet in life.”

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Future plans

The sanctuary intends to look after more needy animals in the future and provide shelter to at least 40 donkeys at a time. Implementation of this whole idea would cost INR 3,75,000 which includes land rent, transportation and food.

Apart from this, expense for salary of the caretaker, manager and the vet doctor also needs to be managed by the sanctuary.

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On Republic Day, Indian Army and Chinese Peoples Liberation Army commit to boost functional relations

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Republic Day in India, Wikimedia

India, Jan 27, 2017: In a bid to enhance functional relations at the border, ceremonial personnel meetings between troops of the Indian Army and Chinese Peoples Liberation Army were held on Thursday in eastern Ladakh on the occasion of India’s 68th Republic Day.

At the Chushul-Moldo meeting point, the delegations were led by Brigader R.S. Raman and Senior Colonel Wang Jun Xian, while at the DBO-TWD meeting point, the delegations were led by Col. Manish Mehrotra and Colonel Song Zhang Li.

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“The proceedings commenced by ceremonial hoisting of flags of both the countries which was followed by ceremonial address by both delegation leaders which exuded warmth and reaffirming the mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at the functional level at the border,” said an army statement.

“Thereafter, a cultural programme showcasing vibrant Indian culture was organised,” it added.

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According to the statement, the delegation parted amidst feeling of friendship and commitment towards enhancing the existing cordial relations and sought to build on the mutual feeling of upholding the treaties and agreements signed between the governments of the two sides to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC.

“Both the delegations interacted in a free, congenial and cordial environment,” the statement said. (IANS)

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Hemis Festival: Reasons why you should be at Ladakh’s most popular festival

The Hemis monastery opens its doors after the end of winter. The date is according to the Lunar calendar and changes every year

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Hemis monastery. Source: Wikimedia common

Sept 20, 2016: All your questions answered about the Hemis Festival of Ladakh. Here is what it is all about and why you should not miss a chance to be at Ladakh’s largest and the most popular festival. The annual two day Hemis Festival at the Hemis Monastery has become a great tourist attraction.

WHAT:

Ladakh faces harsh months of winter from November to March.  As they prepare for their bright days ahead, the world gears up to be a the Hemis with them. The Hemis Jangchub Choling monastery start preparing for celebrating the birth of Lord Padmasambhava, their local savious. The festival is a colourful extravaganza comprising of dance, music and mmasked performances. The otherwise serene , untouched landscape transforms into a vibrant and chaotic environment during this time of the year.

WHY:

According to the Tibetan legends, this festival originated in the 8th Cebtury. Lord Padmasambhava, known as Guru Rimpoche to the locals is belived to be the savior who banished the demons and spirits.He is said to have introduces Tantric Buddhism to the Ladhakis. He combined the teachings of Buddhism and Tibetan culture to establish a new way of life.

HOW:

The festival highlight includes dance performances by masked Lamas. The theme of these performances is the victory of good over evil. These performers are dressed in vibrant costumes and bright colored masks. The masks signify different Gods, animals and other characters to depict stories. The dance style includes slow graceful movements with fancy expressions. They also use musicals instruments like the drums, trumpets and cymbals to accompany the dance performance. The main performance depicts the victory over the Ruta demons.

Every 12th year is the Monkey year according to the Tibetan calendar. This festival becomes twofold and the unfurling of the largest Thangkhaof 12 meters from the second floor of the monastery Happened in 2016 after 12 years.The scripture is delicately preserved and is worth seeing.

WHEN:

The Hemis monastery opens its doors after the end of winter. The date is according to the Lunar calendarand hence changes every year. This year it was celebrated on the 15th and 16th of July.

WHERE:

Hemis monastery. Source: Wikimedia common
Hemis monastery. Source: Wikimedia common

The Hemis monastery lies in a gorge, 45 kms from Leh in Jammu and Kashmir.This quaint setting amidst the greenery is a sight you would not want to miss. The Gompa in Ladakh which houses almost 500 monks is accessible. A perfect place for backpackers, travellers and adventure junkies.

– by Rasika Iyer of NewsGram. Twitter: @Rasikaiyer93

 

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Ladakh has suffered years of neglect, says Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Sanghasena

The meditation guru was speaking at a function where some 20 faith leaders of different religions took a pledge to convince people on proper sanitation and hygiene practices

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Suru Valley, Ladakh. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Leh, August 31, 2016: In Jammu And Kashmir, Ladakh region has suffered from years of neglect from the central government and ministers from Delhi come and make sweet promises only to forget, a top Buddhist monk has said.

Bhikkhu Sanghasena, founder and spiritual director of Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre, made the remarks here on Tuesday evening in the presence of Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan.

“I really want central ministers of India to do something for Ladakh. Every time events are held here, ministers come and speak sweet, sweet things and make promises. However they end up doing nothing for Ladakh,” Sanghasena said.

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Citing poor air traffic network for Ladakh, Sanghasena said the government should prioritise good and cheaper connectivity for the strategic region that shares a border with China and Pakistan.”People in Ladakh are not economically empowered.

Mostly the tickets from Delhi to Ladakh and from here to Delhi are so high that it becomes difficult for us to afford (to travel). We do not have train and proper transport services. The only means to connect to rest of the world is

“People in Ladakh are not economically empowered. Mostly the tickets from Delhi to Ladakh and from here to Delhi are so high that it becomes difficult for us to afford (to travel). We do not have train and proper transport services. The only means to connect to rest of the world is aerial route. But their charges are so high,” he said.

Flights to Ladakh– a major tourist destination in India — operate from Delhi and Srinagar. And tickets any time of the year may cost between Rs 8,000 and 20,000 or even more during peak tourist season of July to September.

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The meditation guru was speaking at a function where some 20 faith leaders of different religions took a pledge to convince people on proper sanitation and hygiene practices.
Sanghasena, one of religious leaders to take the oath, urged the union minister to convey his greetings to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The minister was in Ladakh to attend a two-day summit on government initiatives aimed at changing the mindset of people of Ladakh to adopt proper sanitation and hygiene.

The summit was organised by the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) in association with UNICEF India. WASH stands for Water, Sanitation and Hygeine campaign. (IANS)

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