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Sacred Moments at Wanla Monastery: A Mandala Dissolution on the Art of the Silk Road Trip to Ladakh

The village of Wanla was one of the first stops on our ‘Art of the Silk Road’ journey to Ladakh, a stunning region in the North of India which once served as an important gateway to the ‘Silk Road,’ a network of trade routes connecting India with China, Persia, and Southern Europe. Trip leader, Laura Kozaitis, shares her insights into some sacred moments while our group of travelers witnessed a mandala dissolution at Wanla Monastery in Part 1 of a 3-part blog series.

We entered the courtyard of Wanla Monastery, out of breath from the steep ascent. The low, sonorous sound of several monks chanting echoed from an adjacent shrine room. Gylapo, our local guide, had reached the top before us and greeted me with a smile. “Laura-lay, I just found out from a monk that an important Rinpoche is here and they are doing puja.” It was an auspicious beginning to our first stop on Global Family Travels' Art of the Silk Road tour. For our group to encounter a high lama leading prayers and rituals to a multitude of monks right off the bat bode well for our group’s mission. Rather than just hitting usual spots on the travel circuit, we’d come to Ladakh to experience local life within the context of its rich, cosmopolitan heritage. A Silk Road stop for generations, Ladakh’s arts and religions reflect a culture that traded not only in the exchange of goods, but ideas, people, beliefs, and creativity.