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Journey towards Buddhahood

A collection of our Buddha idols from India and SEA

My Buddha Bar

It’s been a while since I got inspired to write something. With a whirlwind of activities from handling a toddler to household chores to getting creative with crochet 🙂 I have got introduced to practicing Buddhism and trying to maintain a regular schedule with it.

My husband and I have been collector’s of Buddha idols ever since we got married, but I never got a chance to understand the philosophy by meeting someone who actually practiced it. Learning about Gautama Buddha and the Noble Eight fold path orthe Four Noble Truths was all in context to academics many many years ago! Following it was a matter of great debate, given the political and competitive environment one has to deal with in our day to day life. My interest in the subject was purely from a point of meditation and not until I was introduced to it by a friend did I understand how it helps in living a balanced and fulfilled life.

My belief in the popular saying of “things happen when they are meant to” was further re-instated when I got introduced to Nichiren Buddhism which originated in Japan. Its quite surprising that living in India all this while so close to Bodhgaya I never got anywhere close to delving deeper into the subject. It’s better late than never! Nichiren Buddhism is based on the Lotus Sutra and works towards attaining a peaceful society while discovering Buddhahood.

Here’s to enlightenment!

Things we did in Kochi travelling with a toddler

We planned a quick getaway this February to Kochi. Although the weather was much warmer than we expected it was fun and relaxing.

Kochi

View from our cottage

We stayed a hotel by the backwaters  (our first time experience in Kerala) for the first two days… and enjoyed the lovely view at sunset. We had a great deal from Hotels.com for Trident and that’s where we stayed for the remaining days.

Although 4 days is a lot to spend in Kochi, we went with the sole intention of relaxing and not filling up our days with travel and sightseeing. Anyone who travels with a toddler knows the limits! With the limited sightseeing options 2 days can be more than enough to explore this city. For us it was completely an unwinding trip focused on cultural experiences, kerala ayurveda and shopping! I loved the visit to the Greenix Village – a superb cultural experience in Fort Kochi. Fort Kochi was where we saw the popular Chinese Fishing Nets and I even got to shop for some interesting, inexpensive jewellery by the rural artisans.  The next thing on my shopping list was a traditional Kerala saree which I managed to purchase in Mattancherry also popular for  Spices.I brought home a few spice boxes for gifting. Neatly packaged but still had to make sure they were further packed airtight to avoid my clothes from smelling of spices!

Kochi_Greenix Village

Sightseeing at Fort Kochi

We also visited the Elephant training camp about 1 hour drive from our hotel. It was a good experience for our daughter to see these animals up close in their natural habitat,  however I felt given the time taken to travel this place can be given a miss.

Elephant Training Camp

Elephant Training Camp

Our next travel to Kerala will be to Alleppey, Munnar and Thekkady which is usually sold as a package by most tour operators and covers the best of staying in a houseboat and visiting a hill station while experiencing the God’s own country.

Crochet: My latest inspiration

The creative bug gets the best of me every few years. I like to believe I am creatively inclined and would love to do something on a larger and continuous scale but have not been able to find ‘the’ course or activity that I would stick to. Indecisive as can be.
I have enjoyed every bit of the creative project I have undertaken – candle making, graphic designing, warli painting, stained glass (with colours, although would love to try the Tiffany style project!), embroidery, fabric painting and my recent interest is in crochet.

Image

I am barely a week into Crocheting and am absolutely fascinated with the creativity involved and the result expected! Having some troubles at the moment since I am unable to find the right sized crochet hook coz here in India we don’t get the fancy Crochet Sets that I came across on Amazon and Ebay….. I have begun my crocheting journey with a 3mm hook instead of 5mm as suggested in most tutorials. Thanks to YouTube and so many awesome crocheters out there I seem to have a lot of guidance in my first crochet piece . I am currently practicing the various stitches till I manage to get a 5mm needle when I will finally start my first project – maybe a baby blanket for my little one, or a scarf or an afghan for me. Hope to get the hook soon!

If you love Trekking

Taktsang MonasteryMy love for adventure is far from the regular hiking, trekking and camping activities. As lazy as I can be any activity which requires a huge amount of effort is something I am never tempted to venture into. However, as luck would have it our decision to visit Bhutan for our annual vacation was solely based on an article I read about The Tiger’s Nest. I was completely drawn to it and my adventurous husband immediately gave his approval, albeit a bit surprised with my initiative on taking this trek.

We went in the month of December, the weather was nice and cold, it was not a tourist season so the trip planned out better than we expected.  Festivals, flora n fauna, palaces and buddhism is what Bhutan has to offer during the year.

We got in touch with a local travel operator Raven Tours and Treks – who managed the trip for us and made it completely hassle free. Our visit to Tigers Nest was scheduled towards the end of our 5 night 6 days trip to help acclimatize ourselves to the low temperatures we will experience on the trek.

The Tiger’s Nest also known as Taktsang Monastery is at 10,240 ft, hanging on a cliff appearing very intimidating and scenic. It was nearly a 7 hour trek for a snail paced trekker like me – 4 hours on the way up and 3 hours back. The climb was very steep and given the season it was chilly and we could see small ice formations on leaves as we approached the top, which added to the scenic backdrop of the valley and the excitement of reaching the monastery!

Ask me to free fall from a bridge into a flowing river and I have done it, experienced a near drowning while rafting in the Himalayas and I will still do it again. But ask me to go on another trek and I can assure it’s not going come close to accomplishing this trek to The Tiger’s Nest. A once in a lifetime opportunity that came our way and I am glad it was the best!