Julie Hall is a photographer and writer specializing in Asian arts and cultures. In 2012 she journeyed for the second time to Padum, Zanskar, in the far northern Indian region of Jammu and Kashmir, to attend and photograph the Dalai Lama’s teachings.
“His Holiness is an astonishing energy and presence. It felt as if the whole of Zanskar valley lit up when his helicopter arrived and remained that way until he left. A very special tingle in the air. Women were dressed in their amazing best with their peraks (turquoise headdresses), incredible jewelry, and goat skin capes. And the men looked elegant in their gonchas, one of the most handsome men’s coats I’ve seen. They welcomed His Holiness with flowers, kataks, incense, and burning juniper branches. At the teachings, which lasted 3-4 hours, the Dalai Lama’s attention never wavered. He was fully engaged on various levels at once, his face in continuous animation, and his mind alert and focused, even during translation time. And his famous giggly laughter is a thrill to witness. People from the farthest reaches of Zanskar made the pilgrimage, as well as all the Zanskarpa monastics, many people from Ladakh, and a handful of random foreigners and Indian tourists.”
Other photographs in this Tokonoma selection are from a visit to another pilgrimage destination, Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock), Burma, which Julie writes about in KJ 78.
Many more of Julie’s superb Zanskar photos can be seen on her website, here: http://juliehall.net/blog/zanskar