by Charukesi Ramadurai
- India -
High in the north Indian state of Kashmir sits Ladakh, held by many as the last bastion of Himalayan Buddhism. Since Tibet is out of bounds for most tourists, Ladakh now attracts travelers and spiritual seekers who come for glimpses of a traditional Buddhist way of life; even seasoned travelers go so far as to describe it as the last Shangri La.
Buddhists in Ladakh are often seen spinning a prayer wheel, a practice believed to bring wisdom and good karma or merit. All photographs © Charukesi Ramadurai. •
It is true that Kashmir is a war-torn region, however, the turmoil does not touch Ladakh, a good 280 miles from the capital city of Srinagar. Nor are there any foreign invaders intent upon destroying Buddhism to establish their own faith.
Today, the (perceived) threat to Ladakhi Buddhism is from a different kind of invasion - globalization - brought by travelers and their notions of modernity that invariably spread along with them. And with this comes concerns about the erosion of a faith and way of life that is centuries old.