Boys being boys
My second Sunday; I had been 17 days in Kalimpong, but realised that I hadn’t yet really paused for breath, certainly not for my soul – hardly enough for my body. So, with only my camera and a rather odd map, I set off into the town. The first part of the journey was my familiar walk to the office in town, but at this slower pace, I had the time to see and appreciate things a little more.
A roadside house, that I had passed many times but never quite saw
Who’s the man with the funny eyes, mom?
A place of a thousand shopkeepers
Having wandered around a while and discovered that my favourite coffee bar was closed – more on that, another time – I decided to seek out the Indo-Tibet Cultural Institute – perhaps, I thought, there might be a museum, or some interesting people to talk to.
Convinced, after walking a full hour, that I had lost my way, I stopped to ask a shopkeeper. He pointed me further along the road, so off I went. I didn’t find any Indo-Tibetan Institute (and still haven’t). Instead, I found myself walking into the grounds of a Gompa – a religious centre for the 6th Lepcha Lama.
Prayer flags around a new stupa at the entrace to the Gompa
wheels of prayer
After wandering around for a bit and finding no one about, I began to think it was all shut up, so I settled into a little of my own quiet time, gentled by the gathering atmosphere. But then, I spied a rather striking, dark butterfly. It flew in front of me and then away. I followed and was shortly greeted by this twelve year old girl –
The Lepcha Lama’s grandaughter – a pupil at the High School wh wants to be a doctor.
And so was led to the Lama’s shrine and meditation centre.
Inside the tiny shrine and meditation room – the Buddha flanked by more ancient gods
Though neither old, nor richly endowed, there was an undeniable sense of abiding peace and settlement – a place of continuing devotion as evidened by the new stupa. I spent a further and very worthwhile hour there, taking in the atmosphere and feeling myself settle more deeply than I had before on this trip.
The central temple of the Gompa – a traditional block design.
5 urns ….. 6th lama…. wonderful thing detection.. wonder if I am right
Later, I was told that the Lepcha are one of the three original tribes that inhabited the Kalimpong district. They are not generally Buddhists, and the existence of a Lepcha Buddhist gompa near the town has come as a surprise to a number of my Nepalese friends. But that seems to be the way of these parts – many small communities, clans and families living close by one another; peaceful, self-contained; interacting and mixing, but remaining distinct – content to be and allow to be, together.