The dates for my Sikkim trip were arranged so that I could experience the Lama Dances at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim.\nInformation on the net was sketchy, but some websites mentioned that Rumtek monks, a part of the Karmapa order, perform dances 2 days prior to Losar \u2013 which was on March 5th.\nAfter arriving in Gangtok on the 1st, I headed out to Rumtek monastery nearly 90 minutes of winding roads away from Gangtok, to confirm the dance schedules. There I met unexpected paramilitary guards\u2026and a sparsely populated monastery.\nMuch to my disappointment, I was told this year the Losar celebration had been brought forward by a month and the celebrations had taken place in the previous month!!\nThe focal point of my entire journey had suddenly disappeared!\nBut nothing could be done about this disappointing news so I went ahead and enjoyed the rest of the monasteries. The unexpected surprises at the other monasteries more than compensated for this loss \u2026and soon the disappointment was forgotten.\nOn the final leg of the journey \u2013 on an impromptu detour to Kalimpong \u2013 the driver took me to an old but small active monastery.\nA chat with the monks revealed the final delightful surprise that this journey offered: monk dance practice that evening!!!\nI had begun the monastic journey with disappointing news \u2013 but ever since, serendipity had done its best to make it up to me\u2026. this was turning out to be a journey of anti-climaxes followed by climaxes!\nThe final masked dances were scheduled for the 14th and 15th, by which time I would be far away\u2026but the practice sessions offered me a small slice of an otherwise unavailable experience. So, with a grumbling driver, I returned to the monastery after dinner, to view the practice in the dark.\nThe images that follow have been taken without flash using prime lenses that were sometimes slow and blurry. These and are not great photographs but they provide a good view of the dance poses.\nClick to view slideshow.\nAs I reviewed the pictures, I notice the similarity between some of the dance movements and martial arts \u2026. a connection that I had forgotten about\u2026.\nBack to Sikkim Diaries\njm\nMarch 2011\nThe post Lama Dances at Thongsa Monastery, Kalimpong appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.