Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gangtok: Enchey Monastery.

More driving on the windy roads of Gangtok - downhill, uphill, around hill. We were on our way to Enchey Monastery.  Again, another long driveway separated us from the main monastery complex. This one was a gentle uphill slope so we strolled.

Along the way, I came across two young monks with small pieces of paper. They were leaning against a concrete wall, facing each other. Curious about what they were doing, I walked up to them and asked. One replied that they were wrestling.



 I knew they weren't wrestling as I know wrestling to be so I stood by them and watched. Each piece of paper had the face of (I'm guessing) a famous wrestler.....like the kind that you see on the WWE. Each boy would throw down a piece of paper in turn.....guessing that whoever has the more *powerful* wrestler earns the point for that turn?? However the game is really played, it really didn't matter.....it was just interesting watching them play.


There was a small row of prayer wheels lining the driveway. I hadn't spun any yet so I decided it was my time to do so.

As expected, the driveway ended at the monastery complex - on one side was the chanting hall and on the other a building that was the monk's living quarters.

Shoes off, I entered into the monastery. The first thing that struck me was the quality of the paintings on the walls. These were very well done with quite a lot of detail. The other thing that struck me about the paintings was they seemed to be a bit on the erotic side. Maybe it was just my imagination but I could have sworn several of the figures were in very suggestive poses. A bit surprising considering I am in a Buddhist monastery!

The chanting hall at Enchey is extremely modest in size. You can stand at the front door and see the entire room in one shot. Of course, I walked in and well, it's everything you would expect to see inside a Buddhist monastery.

Back outside, I could hear the sounds of monks chanting. It was coming from somewhere in their living quarters. My eyes scanned the building and through the door of one of the rooms, I could see two monks chanting, swaying to the sounds.

In another part of the building, with their backs against the balcony railing, a group of young monks were enjoying a snack.



Down below, a small group of workers were sawing away at some boards.

I'm sure this was just a typical day at the monastery. It's amazing to me how the monks don't mind having visitors on the premises.....nosy outsiders peeking into every space that they can and peppering any monk who comes along with questions.





On the way back to the car, I spotted a small pair of chortens nestled in the woods.   Even though I was walking way behind Merle and Mike, I decided to dart into the woods to snap a few shots.  They would be my last photos of a monastery in India.

Back inside, we were on our way to our next destination - the Flower Exhibition Hall.