January 2018
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Month January 2018


I’ve been taking pics of the groupings of objects in front of shrines.

Here’s what they may mean:

A candle or an oil lamp: the light of wisdom illuminating the darkness of ignorance
Incense: the fragrant scent of morality
Flowers: the aspiration to achieve the body of the Buddha, or, alternately, a Zen verse expresses the desire for the mind’s “flowers” to “bloom in the springtime of enlightenment”
Food, water, drink: represents the nectar of Dharma and the wish to achieve it
Scarves: offering friendship

That’s the simplified form, ripped from here

I’m presuming the pigments are an extension of the forehead markings. These pics are from Hindu shrines, so they may mean this but that’s only a guess. (I need a day with a guide, but Googling has its benefits, like you can drink beer and smoke ciggies and do it)

And in here, only a stone

up close

Why a stone? A cool answer here

not just tea




It was nostalgic. The characteristics were very 70’s.


I first came across the Hindu goddess Kali in my Rough Guide India eBook. Here’s how she’s described here:

Kali is the Hindu goddess (or Devi) of death, time, and doomsday and is often associated with sexuality and violence but is also considered a strong mother-figure and symbolic of motherly-love.

A traditional image

Whoa! Ganesha, go hide!

From the above site:
Kali’s most common pose in paintings is in her most fearsome guise as the slayer of demons, where she stands or dances with one foot on a collapsed Shiva and holds a severed head. She wears a skirt of severed human arms, a necklace of decapitated heads, and earrings of dead children, and she often has a terrifying expression with a lolling tongue which drips blood.

We’ve seen her only twice, I don’t think she’s common, but not sure

On the way to the Nepal border we went through a long pine forest. The track with the shrine marked

On a hill beside the road, this

At the gate, the monkey god, Hanuman

And then Ganesha (below post). Then Shiva and Parvati

Then this


Tonque sticking out, bloody hands, taunting, defiant

And standing on Shiva

The next day we went to the extraordinary Mahakai Temple, which is on a Darjeeling hill, centre here

The walk up here was high value

Garish and beautiful structures

The monkeys are fed, of course

To this


The woman above was doing laps of the shrine with incense, nodding in with each passing. She walked clockwise, right to left, in the same way as you spin a prayer wheel

crowd favourite: Ganesha

more tomorrow


Kangchenjunga at 06:30, 30 minutes earlier would be better, but really…

Been busy

There are 3 stories to write up. We’ll do one tomorrow and 2 the following day, is the plan.

But in the interim, we went to see a couple of things that took us to the Nepal border. Saw this guy on the way

Saw this cow on the way

Saw this child and dog on the way

One side of the street is in Nepal, one in India

That rock behind us is the border, one of our feet sets are in Nepal, one in India. Pic not my idea, but it seems bloggable

The view across


My friend and I had an extraordinary day. At the end, we sat with monks and novices for an hour facing the sun until it went down. The music was sometimes intense.

choo! choo!

The super-famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was opened in 1880 to carry tea for export. It’s narrow 2′ guage is also super-famous. Wiki Darjeeling Himalayan Railway


Here comes the steam engine!



Fill ‘er up!

The engineer’s stuff

The carriage was modern. The 10:00 train is for tourists

They had these perfect elasticated GPS holders on the back of the seats, a nice touch. I was the only one using it though

At Ghum, the turnaround point. We wait here for 30 minutes

The main event. Was epic!

The track

The famous spiral that gains the train elevation. The messy part of the track is me walking around as they let us out here for a few minutes

I have a lady friend in Vancouver who did this recently and said it was boring! Whoa! That’s why they don’t give little girls train sets for Christmas.

The Wiki link at the top is worth a quick scan.

@ a Canadian in London

In case you missed it: the curious star appeal