Friday, March 23, 2012

India Tour, Part 4; Ajanta Caves, Pune, Global Pagoda

Back in India, Part 4

Panorama view of the Ajanta Caves taken from,  

'The Viewpoint'

From Ahmedabad our group of five took the overnight train to Bhusawal and arrived at 5:30 in the morning. We were met by a suv sent by Mr. Ramesh Bunsoor. On the drive back to Aurangabad we stopped at the viewpoint overlooking the famous Ajanta Caves. I had been to Ajanta many times over the last 38 years, but I never tire of beholding the magnificent  location and sight of the caves.
We also stopped at the Lokuttara Buddha Vihar to admire the beautiful meditation hall.
I spent three last days in Aurangabad before driving to Pune to spend two days. I gave two public talks and meditation class in Pune and had a leisire day to visit the small Buddhist Caves at Bedse, about fifty kilometers from Pune. From Pune I was driven to Mumbai for my final two days before flying off to Kathmandu, Nepal.

Close ups of the Ajanta Caves starting from the main entrance

Main entrance to Caves below right; The rainy season, July-September, offers the more splendid views of the caves with several waterfalls and lush greenery.

Different caves have more or less of rock cut Buddha images, a chaitaya and many paintings.

White color on rock face is where water runs down in the rainy season.

Caves numers 26, 25, 24; One of these has a large recumbent Buddha image

Cul de sac at end of caces with waterfall pool (in rainy season); I enjoyed many refreshing dips here in previous visits and even slept overnight in the low cave behind the pool. 

Lokuttara Buddha Vihar; located betwwen Ajanta and Aurangabad

Buddha images to to blessed by Paritta chanting

Chanting Paritta at the Buddha Lena Vihar, Aurangabad

With monks from Pune at the first Vihar outside of Pune started by Dr. BR Ambedkar;
From left: Ven. Mahanagaratna, Ven. Sugath and Ven. Nagosh

The approach to the Bedse Caves

Main Bedse Cave with Chaitaya

With the caretaker of the caves

Approach over the water to the Global Pagoda

The Global Vipassana World Pagoda outside Mumbai

Inside the World's largest stone made dome; seats 10,000 vipassana meditators with revolving teacher's seat in the middle

With Ven. Ananda outside the Old Portuguese Chuirch in Mumbai 

Salvation by Vipassana or Christ

Notice the Buddhist influence?

The End of Tour in India

When you read this post I have already finished five days trekking and am now in Namche Bazzar, high in the Himalaya of Nepal. After two days rest I will begin the Three Passes Trek around Mt. Everest. I am making this trek with a German friend, Attila Joo.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

India Tour,Part 3, Nasik and Gujarat

Back in India, Part 3
Hi friends,
From Aurangabad I travelled by car to Nasik when I stayed for five days conducting a retreat at the foot of the Buddhist Caves. This is the first time I had been to Nasik.
While in Nasik I was taken to visit Igatpuri and S.N. Goenka's main Vipassana Meditation Center, Dhammagiri. It is a very big place with many different residences and meditation halls for different courses and the sexes are kept strictly apart for eating and meditating as well.

On the road to Nasik

Buddha Vihar at Nasik

Buddha image in Vihar; allegedly covered with over 10 lakhs gold

Main caves at Nasik

With from right:Shital, Anushakti and Prashant                        

Rock cut images inside cave

Inside the Chaitaya cave
Overllooking Nasik city from caves flanked by Ramesh Bunsoor and Ven. Dhammadeep

Sitting at the bank of the Godavari River, site of the Nasik Kumbhamela

From Nasik our group of five drove into Gujurat State. This is the first time I have been to Gujurat. I was coming here to give teachings at five different cities Our first stop was the town of Valsad which is near the Arabian Sea coast. This was the first visit to the sea in a long time. For a few of my Indian friends from Maharashtra it was their first ever visit to the sea.
The rest of our stops were in Surat, Ahmedabad/Gandhinagar, Rajkot and Jamnagar. In Ahmedabad we paid a visit to Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati ashram. Ity was from this ashram where Gandhi planned and launched many of his civil disobdience walks, and championed his cherished project of home 'spinning'.
I was given the opportunity to 'try my hand'.

The beach at last; Valsad, Gujurat

My entourage during Gujarat Tour
From Left:  translator Shital, Anushakti, Prashant, and Mrs. Dhembre.

Blessing a cow

Enjoying a coconut at the beach

At Mahatma Ghandhi's Sabaramati Ashram at Ahmedabad

Seat where Gandhi spun his wool

Gandhiji's beloved 'Three Monkeys:Speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil

Trying my hand at spinning

Signing the guestbook

With group in Dhrol

With Mr.G.S. Taide(left) and Mr. S.P. Zade, father of samanera Suci in Ahmedabad

Street life in Ahmedabad

Milk delivery by Gujarat tuk tuk

Fresh milk at your doorstep

To be continued