A Tour of Northern Humla, Nepal (September-October 2014)

Stage 5: Halji

DSC04927 - Copy

Back to Humla 2014 webpage

 

limi

 

Halji is the site of the highly revered 11th-century Drikung Kagyu Thubten Rinchenling Gompa. It is believed that Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055), the principal translator of Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Tibetan during the second diffusion of Buddhism in Tibet, founded 108 temples and monasteries throughout Guge, Purang, and Ladakh, and that Halji′s gompa was the last one. Unfortunately, in recent years the village has been hit by glacial lake floods and rock falls. Villagers fear that the gompa could soon be damaged. There are now some ongoing efforts to preserve this gompa.

 

While in Halji, I attended two pujas (Buddhist rituals and prayers) requesting gods to quickly melt snow from the buckwheat fields, so that harvest could be completed. One was held by monks in the gompa itself, while the other was held among villagers in one of the village houses.

 

Halji village and its cultivated terraces covered by snow.

DSC04914

 

The ″chorten alley″ at the entrance of Halji.

DSC04917

 

Streets of Halji filled with snow dumped from the rooftops. In the heart of the winter season, it must be even worse. Note how well the house walls have been built.

DSC04987

DSC05002

 

Central section of Halji with its gompa.

DSC04927

 

Inner courtyard and northern aisle (with staircase) of the gompa. The courtyard is used for festivities.

DSC04966

 

Two representations of Vairocana (who symbolizes the mirror-like wisdom of the Buddha′s enlightenment) in a four-fold composition located on the ground floor of the gompa: southern side (left) and eastern side (right) of the composition. The entrance to the Vairocana room is on the left of the staircase seen in the previous photo.

DSC05020

DSC05019

 

Bodhisattvas in the Vairocana room.

DSC05021

 

DSC05022

 

Balcony on both sides of the staircase reaching the second floor.

DSC04974

DSC04977

 

In the central room on the second floor (northern side).

DSC04962-a

DSC04961

 

DSC04960

DSC04958

 

DSC04959

 

The maze of human life symbolized by an incense labyrinth burning from the outside in.

DSC04955

 

In the puja room (left room on first floor, northern side), before the puja.

DSC04948

 

DSC04950

DSC04953

 

DSC04951

 

DSC04942

 

Monks on the terrace of the gompa (southern side) and mountain facing Halji Gompa on the opposite side of Limi Khola.

DSC04940

 

DSC04941

 

Puja in the gompa.

DSC05006

 

DSC05015

DSC05010

 

DSC05011

 

DSC05012

 

Villager puja.

DSC04988

 

DSC05001

 

DSC04989

 

DSC04998

 

DSC04997

 

DSC04990

 

DSC04994

 

DSC04996

DSC04996-a

DSC04993

 

Preparing food and (Tibetan) tea for puja participants.

DSC04992

 

Spectacular hermitage in the cliff overlooking Halji.

DSC04967

DSC04967-a

 


Back to Humla 2014 webpage