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Peace and awakening through art
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Peace and awakening through art

Peace and awakening through art

P.P. Wangchuk

ALCHI IN Ladakh gives one a visual and spiritual feast of the 11th century Indian religion, culture and civilization. This tiny but picturesque village, 70 km from Leh, off the Leh-Srinagar highway, houses six temples which have unique murals painted by 32 Kashmiri artists for several years. In the words of Kapila Vatsayan, an authority on Indian art and culture, one who visits Alchi cannot but get lost into the diverse spiritual world of India. Spirituality within the walls of these temples overwhelms one's mind and soul to an extent that one yearns to visit it time and again.

For those who have not been lucky enough to visit Alchi, I have good news. Alchi has "come" to the national Capital! An exhibition of photographs of the best of 150 Alchi murals are on show at the National Museum, till February 4. And the key man behind the exhibition is Dr. Nawang Tsering, Principal of the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies, Leh. For him, the exhibition is the fulfillment of a long cherished desire, and a "humble bid to showcase objects of spirituality for the greater good of humanity."

For me, the exhibition was like Alchi revisited and reminded me to ponder over the many facets of spirituality represented by various gods and goddesses in various forms of visualization.

What attract one most are the major icons of Buddhism. Fiery gods like Lord Mahakala and goddesses like Tara and Shridevi are shown protecting the people from devils and evil spirits. And a grateful people are shown showering them with flowers.

One has to have an eye and the heart to appreciate the beauty and the essential message these murals convey. The murals stand for the religious and cultural plurality of India and helps one strengthen one's conviction that there is no weapon greater than purity of mind and soul. A desire to reflect on the ills that have ruined a greater part of humanity on this beautiful planet is a bonus that one gets to enjoy with after getting into the underlying messages of these murals.

01-21-2009 01:07 AM
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