When people push themselves beyond the limits of normal human capability, it is always admirable.\nA few years ago I\u2019d read about the kora or parikrama that Tibetans performed as they went around the Jokhang and even the Kailash Parbat. The magnitude of that task evoked in me jaw-dropping awe.\nMen and women cover the entire distance of their spiritual journey in the following steps:\nThey stand with their hands folded above their heads in prayer\nKneel down\nLie flat on the ground completely prostrate with the hands above their heads still\nTouch their foreheads to the ground\nGet up\nTake \u00a0a step to the point that their hands had reached\nRepeat.\nThis is repeated for the entire distance which could be for hundreds of kilometres.\n!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!\nNo food vans following. No water-stations like we see for marathon runners. No fresh towels to wipe off the grime.\nOnly devotion fuels their grit.\nHow they manage this over days I do not know. But even if the luxury of these water bearers and food tables were to exist, it would still an extraordinary feat considering the hardship of the exercise and the duration of the journey.\nFor a long time I had only seen a few photos of this and imagined the rest of the story.\nAnd then one day in March year in Ladakh I saw this for the first time.\nWe had begun early at 7am to drive out into the interiors \u2013 over 150km away. We had hardly begun when on the other side of the road I saw a group of men doing something I had not seen before.\n\nWithin moments all the dots in my head connected and I asked the driver to stop.\nI ran back and reached a spot way ahead of them as I did not want to disturb them in any way.\nClick to view slideshow.\nWe were a few kilometers outside the city and and I was told they probably came from Chanthang. I was awed but we had to continue our journey.\nWe then went our way and after a leisurely full-day excursion of 5 hours driving each way, (that had warranted this early morning departure), we got back to the city around sunset.\nAnd guess what we saw before entering the city? The same group of men. They had not yet reached the city.\n!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!\nI was completely baffled. And my mental model of life was shattered.\nHow could they be so strong mentally? How could they even desire something like this? How could they take on such an endeavour?\nAnd naturally disguised in these questions about them, were questions about myself: How was I so weak? how come I haven\u2019t done anything like this? how useless are all my possessions if they do not enable me to be strong \u2013 or free \u2013 or disciplined \u2026.?\nA random silly thought had occured to me and was banished before I could even articulate it in my head: \u201cshould i offer them a ride to ease their journey?\u201d The absurdity of that question hit me as soon as I formed that thought and I was embarrassed! (the good thing about thoughts is that no one can see them\u2026 unless one puts them down in a blog like this \u2026 but at least my companions of the day were not exposed to my foolishness).\u00a0How could I have even though about helping them! I had nothing to offer that would be of value to them. If anyone could benefit from the other, it was obviously me that would be the receiver \u2013 I could benefit from some transfer of that spiritual / mental wealth!\nAnd it was this sudden encounter with this other model of living that shattered my model of how one ought to conduct life.\n***\nMore questions to the drivers and my two Ladakhi companions revealed that during a certain phase of the Lunar calendar every year, this spiritual journey is undertaken by many. And if we were lucky we\u2019d get to see this again in the city.\nAnd we were lucky.\nHere are some photos of absolutely impressive devotion:\n\nClick to view slideshow.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\u00a0\nClick to view slideshow.\nNote the accessories worn by the pilgrims:\nSpecial aprons if one has them:\n\nOr if one doesn\u2019t have them \u2013 then some plastic or \u00a0polythene sack in which 20 kg of \u00a0\u2018besan\u2019 or chick pea flour was packed will do the task just as well.\n\nThe lady in the photo below touches her forehead to the ground\u2026.\n\nand uses the mask for her nose.\n\u00a0\n***\nMost people in this group walk around the palace in the city from morning to evening everyday for a period of 3-4 days. Chanting as they go.\n\u00a0\n\nWhat drives them?\nIs there anything that could drive me to do this? Or anything equivalently great?\n???\nNo idea.\nThey bow to something greater.\nAnd I, bow to them.\n\u00a0\njaina mishra\nApril 2018\u00a0\n[photos from 2017]\n\u00a0\nThe post Inspirational People from the Himalayas appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.