The last time i took a break, was about a dozen or so years ago. I had just finished launching Zee’s education channel (in my first stint with the group), I was exhausted – physically, mentally and emotionally – and i took off to Munnar, in Kerala. Within 3 days of going there, Offitis struck me – i began missing work and the people there 🙂
In the intervening years, many things happened. I quit corporate life, set up on my own – and traveled a bit, on work. The travelling was less metro, and more hinterland. Less tourist life, and more a seeker. I shot extensively in the rural parts of India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia. And, the decade i worked for myself, it never felt like work. And, taking a break was out of the question. There were lulls in work life, those became breaks in themselves.
This has been a sort of traumatic year. More than anything else, I needed to heal. Angkor Wat was the break. It was both a visual treat and a spiritual journey. The world’s largest temple complex dedicated to Vishnu. Awesome and Awe inspiring.
While Agkor Wat was a visual delight – and a physical strain — gosh it is a lot of walking and much of it is steep, it was also immensely informative. The way the structure was created, the thinking behind the various layers of temples, the library within, the prayer areas, the grounds – all of it was thought through to the greatest possible detail.
Angkor Thom – the Buddhist temple complex (Angkor Wat, too in that sense is Buddhist. When the country turned Buddhist many centuries ago, Buddha’s statue replaced Vishnu’s in the main prayer area) – was the capital of the Khmer Empire.
But, the single most spiritual part of this journey was the trek up to see the sahasralinga – or the 1000 Lingas. This was at a place called Kbal Spean, and it is a 1.5 km vertical trek. While trekking up, the thing that strikes you most (apart from the fact that you are terribly out of shape) is the aroma of the ‘sacred’ forest. And, when you get to the top, it is simply like going home. The calmness and pristine nature of the place, the aroma of the woods, and the purity of the water fall – all help heal.
More pictures to follow. But, this is what i was doing the last week.