1 August 2012
21 students and 3 staff have just returned from Ladakh in North India where they undertook a programme of trekking, finding out about Ladakhi and Tibetan Buddhist culture, as well as maintaining the link between Norwich School and the GTC Monastic School in Diskit Monastery in the Nubra Valley.
Treks undertaken included the Sham trek at 3,700 metres and the Shang Pass at nearly 5,000 metres. Between the treks there was highly exciting white-water rafting on the Zanskar River. We also crossed the Khardung Pass, the highest road in the world at 5,600 metres, to visit the beautiful Nubra Valley and maintain our link with the boy monks and teachers of GTC Monastic School.
It was a real privilege to stay at Diskit Monastery, which is Tibetan Buddhist, and be part of the lives of the monks. Our students taught lessons to the boy monks one morning, we took them on a picnic, took a not-so-comfortable camel ride and drew our cricket match with the monks.
Other highlights included getting the tailors in Ladakh to run up some multi-coloured trousers that would have made Gok Wan weep (with despair!), listening to a shepherdess sing a haunting, spine-tingling song round a campfire under the glittering stars, and visiting the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara (an impressive Sikh temple) and the Taj Mahal.
We also had the fantastic good luck to walk straight into a motorcade led by the vehicle of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. We followed it to a local mosque where we heard the Dalai Lama give a presentation. He told us that we must accustom ourselves to thinking of each other as beings worthy of compassion, not hatred. “Your blood is my blood; your warmth is my warmth; your suffering is my suffering; your happiness is my happiness.” Inspirational words, and ones which were reminiscent of Norwich School’s ethos of compassion.
Now, India 2014 . . . who’s game??