Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Major Prithi Chand Saves’Ladakh’
It is the story of a person who was inspired by an ideal. It is an example of selflessness of one leader, who raised the vision of people all around him to achieve the impossible.

Prithi Chand was a scion of the ruling family of Lahaul. It was a small principality, tucked into the Himalayas to the north of Kulu and Manali. It borders on Ladakh.

In 1936, when he was about to finish his studies, the family Guru of Prithi Chand visited. He came from the Buddhist monastery in Ladakh. The Guru was ailing and said that the visit would be his last one. One evening he looked straight into the eyes of Prithi Chand and asked him to promise something. Prithi Chand readily offered to do whatever the Guru wanted. “Protect my monastery when it is in danger”. Not dnowing what it meant, Prithi Chand promised to do so.

On the eve of World War II,in 1939, Prithi Chand joined the Indian Army as an officer. It was December 1947 when Major Prithi Chand’s battalion fetched up in the Kashmir Valley to fight the tribal invasion launched by Pakistan. Soon thereafter, the Himalayas received a heavy snowfall and the only route leading to Ladakh across the Himalayas at Zojila Pass was blocked for the duration of the winter.

One of the thursts of the Pakistane invasion was along the Indus river towards Leh, the capital of Ladakh. The Indus River here is on the northern side of the Himalayas and flows from Tibet in the East towards West. The invading column was making slow progress in the severe wintry condition, against resisitance being put up by a small force belonging to the state of Jummu and Kashmir.

The Ladakhi community in Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, started getting news of the imminent fall of Ladakh. During the long winter lying ahead, it was only a matter of time befor the invaders would reach and capture Let. On a tenuous radio link, the news started coming in that people were packing up their belongings to send them away to Tibet, along with their women and children. Major Prithi Chand was getting all the news through a Ladakhi classmate, who was a civil engineer at Srinagar.

One night, Major Prithi Chand saw a brief dream. His Guru appeared before him and told him to fulfil his promise. Prithi Chand woke up with a start. What promise? He had completely forgotten the incident of 1936. Slowly, the memory came back.

Prithi Chand got up, put on his uniform and set to work. He had got a clear-cut ideal to save Ladakh in order to protect the monastery of his Guru. His mission was more important than his life.

The senior military commanders felt that Prithi Chand had gone mad, when he suggested that an operation should be mounted to protect Ladakh . There was no way Ladakh could be saved. The route had closed down for the winter. And, in any case, they had no force wich could be diverted from the difficult task of protecting the Kashmir Valley.

Prithi Chand was not discouraged. He knocked at every door; military as well as political. He even persuaded the Ladakhi community to send telegrams to the Prime Minister of India at Delhi.

Finally, the military authorities relented and approved a plan prepared by Prithi Chand. Privately, they were of the opinion that it was a most scatter-brained idea. But they agreed to it, to get Prithi Chand off their backs! The plan was that Major Prithi Chand, along with thirteen volunteers from battalion and his civil engineer friend, would cross the snow bound Himalayas. They would carry about 200 rifles and some ammunition, using porters. On reaching Ladakh, Prithi Chand would raise a guerrilla force from the local youth and train them. they would then delay the Pakistani invading columns. Simultaneously, the civil engineer would prepare an airfield at Leh for the military aircraft, Dakotas. Once the airfield was ready, reinforcements would be flown into Lakakh.

The story of Major Prithi Chand is one of the great sagas of the profession of arms. It needs a full book 19 to narrate his adventures. But in a nutshell, he did cross the Himalayas in midwinter; escaped an avalanche; did reach Ladakh; did raise a guerrilla force; did hold the Pakistani invaders at bay for sixty days; did get the airfield ready at Leh and did pester the military authorities to honor their promise to fly in reinforcements, just in time to prevent the fall of Leh! He was awarded a Maha Vir Chakra, but his greater reward was the fulfillment of an ideal.

Selflessness based on an ideal or a vision is the real foundation of leadership. It inspires a leader and also those he leads, to achieve the impossible.

“As long you are clouded over with this
Possessive attitude, thinking only of yourself,
Your family, your people, your things, you can
be certain that sooner or later you will be cast
Into sorrow, you must travel from the stage of
identifying yourself with’ I’ and ‘mine’ to the
Higher stage where you are constantly
Identifying yourself with ‘we’ and ‘ours’. From
Selfishness you must gradually travel to
Selflessness, from bondage to liberation.”
-Sai Baba

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Milarepa depicts the humble beginnings of the man who was to become Tibet’s greatest saint. A true story based on centuries-old oral traditions, a youthful Milarepa is propelled into a world of sorrow and betrayal after his father’s sudden death. Destitute and hopeless, he sets out to learn black magic - and exact revenge on his enemies - encountering magicians, demons, an enigmatic teacher and unexpected mystical power along the way. But it is in confrontation with the consequences of his anger that he learns the most.
Photographed in the stunning Lahaul-Spiti region of Northern India, Milarepa offers a provocative parallel to the cycle of violence and retribution we see consuming today’s world.
Milarepa, one of the most widely known Tibetan saints, is also revered for the verses he composed throughout his life, known as the Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa. His faithful devotion to his teacher, Marpa, astonishing perseverance, and ultimate attainment made his life story into a legend, inspiring millions.
Milarepa was born in 1052, the Year of the Water Dragon, in the shadow of Mount Tisi, in Tibet. His family name, Mila, came from a paternal ancestor, and he was given the surname Thopa Ga, Joy-to-Hear. His family was wealthy, but his father’s death, while he and his younger sister were still children, left Thopaga, his mother and sister at the mercy of a ruthless uncle and aunt, who robbed them of every possession, and forced them into servitude. At his mother’s urging, Thopaga sought the teaching of a sorcerer, in order to fulfill his mother’s desire for vengeance.
Once he acquired the adequate powers, Thopaga returned to his village, murdered most of his aunt’s and uncle’s family and then fled. He soon regretted his actions and, realizing the need to purify his karma, sought instruction in Buddhism. After a period of fruitless practice, his first teacher told Thopaga that his karmic connection was stronger with another lama named Marpa Lotsawa, “The Translator of Mar,” and sent Thopaga to find him.
Marpa was a married householder, a great teacher, and the translator of many Sanskrit Buddhist works that have become a standard part of the Tibetan canon. In India his principal guru was Naropa, whose principal guru was Tilopa, a direct successor of the Kagyu lineage. While basically warm and compassionate, Marpa could be quite stern, a method especially appropriate for purifying karmic obstructions. Marpa subjected Milarepa to several years of frustrating trials before he taught him directly. After much intense purification, Milarepa thoroughly devoted himself to practicing these teachings, and achieved his goal of personal liberation.
After Milarepa left Marpa, he pursued his practice continually, living mostly in caves in the desolate mountains of Tibet and Nepal. His austere habit of wearing only a single cotton robe year round earned him the title “repa,” (cotton clad) which, added to his family name, became “Milarepa.” Occasionally he interrupted his solitude to beg for food, and in return would recite extemporaneous teaching songs. Although Milarepa endured great difficulties, he always exhibited great courage, and his reputation grew far and wide.
Milarepa was known for a wry sense of humor and for his candid and direct style. Milarepa never welcomed fame, however, and it seemed as if he often rejected would-be disciples; but this is one of many paradoxes of his unique approach. Judging from the number of his accomplished disciples — particularly for someone who made such an effort to avoid people – he was extremely effective.
About the director:Neten Chokling Rinpoche, born in Wandipodzong, central Bhutan in 1973, was recognized and enthroned by both the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa and Kyabj Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, from whom he received many teachings and transmissions. Renowned as an accomplished practitioner, he is the spiritual head of the Pema Ewam Choegar Gyurmeling Monastery in India and Tibet
Neten Chokling Rinpoche’s lineage is that of the great terton (treasure finder) Chokgyur Lingpa, and traces itself back to the Tibetan king, Trisong Detsen, who invited Guru Rinpoche to Tibet.
In previous incarnations Neten Chokling Rinpoche accomplished many great activities in association with Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820-1892), a renowned Buddhist saint who played a pivotal role in the revitalization and preservation of Buddhism in Tibet in the 19th century. Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s present incarnation is Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, aka Khyentse Norbu - the critically acclaimed film director.
Likewise, Neten Chokling Rinpoche is fascinated with the power of cinematic art and the emotional influence of storytelling through sound and movingpictures. He greatly admires the directors Yasujiro Ozu, Akira Kurosawa, Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou.
Neten Chokling was a principal actor in Khyentse Norbu’s The Cup; and assisted in his latest production Travellers and Magicians as a stuntman, assistant to the director and 2nd unit director. The tradition of accomplishing remarkable activities with Khyentse Norbu, which dates back many centuries, is apparently very much alive and well in this century.
Neten Chokling’s rigorous training in Buddhist meditation and philosophy, combined with a deep interest in the film medium, make him well-suited to bring the teachings alive in a way that is accessible to a modern audience.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

lahou spiti group

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Manali-Leh railway link soon

In a major move to push tourism in the hill states and counter Chinese expansion in the Tibetan region, the Railways ministry has prepared a blueprint to set up an ambitious 480 kilometre Manali - Leh railway line link criss-crossing the treacherous mountains in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
The project according to experts will cost over Rs 16,000 crore and the ministry is already preparing a detail survey plan for the project.
A top level government meeting took place in Delhi recently to discuss the survey and other modalities of the project. The distance, according to the plan, will be traversed in around ten hours.
A senior Railway Ministry official said, "A detailed survey plan for the proposed Manali-Leh railway line has been prepared and is under the active consideration of the Railway Board. The expenditure for the survey will be shared jointly by the Himachal Pradesh government and the centre."
The plan is to lay a broad gauge railway track between Jogindernagar and Manali via Mandi and extend it 480 kilometre further to Leh via the Rohtang pass and beyond.
The security concerns are a key reason for building the train line.
"With China building the Beijing-Lhasa railway track, it is critical for India to respond and build the Manali-Leh route both from the security and tourism point of view of India," said Prem Kumar Dhumal, chief minister, Himachal Pradesh.
The proposed railway project is strategically important for India as experts opine that a railway line will be a viable transport alternative in extreme weather conditions.
At present, the main source of connectivity to the border areas is either through the road or air, which frequently gets affected during adverse weather conditions.
Manali - Leh highway which connects tribal areas of Lahaul, Udaipur, Pangi and Ladakh with the rest of the country and goes through the highest mountain passes in the world, remains closed down during the entire winter season.
A rail link will definitely serve India's defence purpose at a time the Chinese are flexing their muscles at our backyard, said an industry expert.
Apart from serving the India's defence interest, the proposed project will provide a fillip to the tourism industry that is one of the major source of revenue generation for the state of Himachal Pradesh.
"I have just returned from Leh and the response I received from the people of Ladakh has been tremendous. The private sector is already showing a keen interest in building this railway track," Dhumal said.
A senior executive of an infrastructure company undertaking railway projects said that the cost of laying a railway track at such a high altitude will be more than double the cost of laying a normal railway track.
Because of the difficult terrain, the movement of vehicles carrying raw materials and other equipment for the project will become costlier.
Moreover, a large amount of tunneling work will have to be undertaken along the proposed route



This tunnel project was conceived way back in 1983 in view of the need to provide an all weather route to Leh and Lahaul & Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh. Rohtang pass, located 51 km away from Manali, is at an altitude of 3978.0 m (13044 ft) and has been posing serious problem in maintaining the road communication for more than four months in a year, It faces heavy snow fall activity, high velocity winds and sub-zero temperature. Accordingly, feasibility study for the construction of Tunnel across Rohtang pass conducted by M/S RITES. Detail Project Report (DPR) has been submitted for obtaining formal approval from cabinet committee on security. Formal approval for the project is yet awaited. Salient features of the proposed Rohtang Tunnel are given as under:-

Length of Tunnel
9 km
Shape of Tunnel
Horse Shoe shape. Finished width 10.00 m at road level. (8.00 m pavement and 1.00 m footpath on both the sides)
General altitude of the tunnel
It lies between 3000-3100 m altitude
Design speed
80 km/h

Geology of Tunneling media
Uniformally dipping alternate sequence of Quartzites, Quartzitc Schists, Quartz-Diolite-Schist with thin bands.
Temperature variation in the area
25-300 C during May-June

-200 C to -20 C during Dec-Jan
Maximum-1900 m

Average more than 600 m
Construction technique proposed
Drill & Blast with NATM
Support System proposed
Fibre reinforced concrete (100 to 300 mm thick) combined with rock bolt (26.50mm dia 5000 mm to 9000 mm long) has been proposed as principal support system. In poor rock condition yieldable steel ribs (ISMB 150/ISMB 300) have been proposed in addition.
Tunnel ventilation
Semi transverse system of ventilation system has been proposed. Following parameters have been taken in design:-

Upper tolerance limit for concentration

Visibility factor

3000 Nos

1500 Nos

Peak hour traffic
337.50 PCUs

Design vehicular speed in Tunnel

Maximum Speed
80 km/ph

Minimum Speed
30 km/ph
Project Cost

Approximately Rs. 1700 Crore

Approach road to the two ends are required to be constructed to connect the Tunnel proper with the Manali-Leh road and also to mobilize the resources for construction of Tunnel, Initially, only access roads with minimum necessary specifications for mobilization of resources will be constructed. Later the same will be developed to National Highway Double Lane specifications and will then be called as approach road. Formation, surfacing and permanent works are under progress and the upto date progress of approach road is given as under:-

Formation Cutting - 59 %

Surfacing Works - 16 %

Permanent Works