Tuesday December 11, 2018

Naropa festival of Ladakh also known as “Kumbh of Himalayas” sees over five million visitors

Naropa festival to mark the 1,000th birth anniversary of great Indian saint Naropa

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People of Ladakh in their cultural dress
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  • Thousands of monks, nuns and volunteers accompanied the Gyalwang Drukpa, the current spiritual head to create awareness about the hazards of non-biodegradable waste in the interior of Ladakh
  • The Naropa festival which is celebrated once in a every 12 years also called “Kumbh of the Himalayas”
  • Naropa Festival saw a variety of cultural performances and fashion shows by Ladahki students and performances by well-known Bollywood singers

The festival concluded last week after which, Gyalwang Drukpa, the current spiritual head of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa Order based in the Himalayas, is undertaking a 10-day long eco “padyatra” or pilgrimage on foot, an official statement of the Order said.

Over five million people visited the week-long celebrations of the Naropa festival to mark the 1,000th birth anniversary of great Indian saint Naropa in the 17th century Hemis Monastery in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, organisers said on Monday.

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It said thousands of monks, nuns and volunteers accompanied the Gyalwang Drukpa to create awareness about the hazards of non-biodegradable waste in the interiors of Ladakh. The padyatra will conclude on October 1.

 

Celebrated once every 12 years, the Naropa festival is aptly called ‘Kumbh of the Himalayas’.

It said the Naropa festival saw a variety of cultural performances and fashion shows by Ladakhi students, an archery competition and performances by well-known Bollywood singers.

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The festival witnessed unveiling of the six bone ornaments by Governor N.N. Vohra for the public in the newly-built Naro Palace near the Hemis Monastery while the Gyalwang Drukpa also unveiled a 60-foot-tall silk embroidery brocade of Buddha Amitabha.

The six bone ornament, comprising a crown, a necklace, earrings, bracelets and an apron, is considered one of the most revered Buddhist relics and it is believed that it was offered to Naropa by Dakinis at the moment of enlightenment.

Over 200 Kung fu nuns belonging to Drukpa sect also reached here by traversing 2,500 km on cycles from Kathmandu and performed dragon dance, drum shows and Dakini dance.

The Drukpa lineage is an integral part of Himalayan and Central Asian legacy and culture.

Dating back to the Indian scholar-saint Naropa, the Drukpa lineage is woven into the history of Buddhism in the geographic locales of India and central Asia.

It is strategically located along some of the world’s most significant historical trading routes and has over 1,000 monasteries in the region. –IANS

-by Aakash Mandyal of NewsGram. Twitter: @Aakashsen6

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  • Antara

    Ladakh at its best! Such a colorful festival would always grab attention of millions of visitors!

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BJP Offers Christians a Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Is Religious Pilgrimage A New Playground For The Political Parties?

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community

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In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
  • The political parties (BJP and Congress ) are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage in the coming local elections of the eastern states of India
  • The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively
  • After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022

The Campaign promises during the elections times are quite bizarre nowadays, from “I’ll cut your taxes,” to “vote for me, and I’ll set you free.”

In the coming local elections in the Christian- majority state of Nagaland in India the agenda by the rival BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and Congress parties are unique: “Vote for us and get either a free or a heavily subsidized pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”

Yes, you read it right. The political parties are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage. The offer has been put up by the Prime Minister Modi- led BJP for the upcoming elections. Even the local partners of the Congress party are treading up the same path.

Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons
Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons

The BJP has not made it clear yet if it is offering the scheme to all of India’s Christians, or only to Christians in the northeast, or only to Christians in Nagaland. The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively. Nagaland is one of smallest states of India, with the population of just under two million people.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

As per the Tourism Ministry figures, around 58,000 Indian tourists came to Israel in 2017, a 47% increase from 2015.

The elections are scheduled for the February 27 in three northeastern states – Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura – later this month.

The AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi also tweeted on the double standard of the government and lashed out at the government for its discriminatory decision, ending Haj subsidy but allowing subsidies to continue for Hindu pilgrimages like the Mansarovar Yatra.

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community. But recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. The government cited the reason for the subsidy withdrawal as they wanted to utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls. After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022.

Also Read: Government ends Haj subsidy as part of a new policy

The scheme is a clear cut example of hypocrisy and opportunism, especially considering the cancellation of Haj subsidies. It seems quite contrary, on the one hand, the government is cutting down the benefit scheme for one section of the society and on the other hand, some other community is been offered the same thing. Such moves bring out the double standards of the political parties just for the sake of vote bank. In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented.

In 2011, Nigeria also did something same as that of India. For many years, their government financed a trip to Mecca for Muslims, leading to some 42,000 Nigerians visiting the country. But with the change in the government, subsidies have been cut considerably and now a 12-day pilgrimage costs around 2000 dollars. The change in stance has resulted in 78% decrease from 2011.