Buddhist Heritage Festival of Ladakh
Pujya Swamiji and Sadhvi Bhagawatiji’s visited Ladakh for the week-long 4th International Festival of Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh, from 23-27th August, 2015. The inauguration of the the festival was done by Hon’ble Defence Minister, Government of India, Shri Manohar Parikkarji, HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), Yoga Guru, HH Pujya Swami Ramdevji, Founder-President of Patanjali Yogpeeth, Pujya Acharya Balkrishanji, renowned Ayurveda Expert of Patanjali Yogpeeth, Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasenaji, Founder-President of Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC)-responsible also for organizing the festival, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji and many, many others.
The festival included the launch of the first GIWA branch in Ladakh, daily yoga classes by Pujya Ramdevji, beautiful meditation classes, cultural programmes and an inspiring ‘Empowerment of Women’ talk, in which divine shaktis, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, President of the Divine Shakti Foundation, General Secretary of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and Director of the International Yoga Festival- Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh) was the Guest of Honour, and Dr. Kiran Bedi delivered the Keynote Speaker. The festival was also attended by Her Royal Highness the Princess of Bhutan, Her Royal Highness the Queen of Ladakh and many others.
On the last day Pujya Swamiji lead everyone in a green sankalp for a Swachh Ladakh and improved WASH. He inspired participants from all over India and from countries like America, Bhutan, Canada, England, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Myanmar and many others to pledge for maintaining sustainable, eco-tourism in places like Ladakh with rich natural and spiritual heritage. He inspired all the students present, in the over one thousand people gathering, to plant as a many trees as possible, keeping their land green, conserving water and purifying the environment. He also motivated all locals to commit to carrying out regular weekly clean-ups of the streets, temples and communities so that they can remain clean, while serving as an example to all visiting tourists.
Pujya Swamiji and Sadhvi Bhagawatiji also spent some time with Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasenaji planning for building a more sustainable Ladakh together and inspiring more and more people to come to meditate and practice yoga in this sacred land. They also planned to invite the female monks of the Buddhist tradition once every year to Rishikesh, on the holy banks of Mother Ganga, to deepen their practice and mobilize together for WASH. Many other initiatives were mapped out to connect the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh, with the meditation capital of the world, Ladakh, especially how both can support the campaign for improved sanitation for all.