... We'd emerge to the tops of monasteries limpet to the sides of the rock, surrounded by chortens and prayer flags, the white facades catching the light of the sunset, all straw gold, the mountains rugged lines of indigo... Buddhism was ancient here, more ancient than it was anywhere else, and we went to a monastery that had been built, they said, when a flying lama had flown from one mountaintop to another, from Menak Hill to Enchey, and another that had been built when a rainbow connected Kanchenjunga to the crest of the hill. Often gompas were deserted because the monks were also farmers; they were away at their fields and gathered only a few times a year for pujas and all you could hear was the wind in the bamboo. Clouds cam through the doors and mingled with the paintings of the clouds. The interiors were dark, smoke-stained, and we'd try to make out the murals by the light of butter lamps... (page 169)
Monday, February 12, 2007
Journey to North India
The imagery in Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss is vivid enough without visual aids, but just for fun, check out this 'North India and Sikkim' slideshow from photographer Matt Reichel.