Mountain Monks (Darjeeling, Sikkim)

Mountain Monks

This is a very charming personal journey to the Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayas by the French Vaishnava Vasudeva Joly, made for BhakTV in 2014.

Joly first describes the journey off the plains of India on the first of the Himalayan railways built by the British in the late 19th century, before descending the train in Darjeeling to the sound of Krishna bhakti songs coming from a nearby temple.

Joly spends a little time in the film comparing his own devotional beliefs with those of the Buddhist monks he meets in the Himalayas, and trying to find common ground, but mainly the monks are just shown going about their duties, and occasionally offering comments and answering questions.

There are two films in the series, which are presented as a playlist here, the first is set in Darjeeling, the second in nearby Sikkim at the Rumtek Monastery, which is the seat of the Karmapas. He also travels to the Changu Lake on the border of Tibet, which is where we first really see him on camera.

The films are part documentary, part travelogue, and are very well photographed and interestingly presented by someone who evidently has empathy for his subjects.


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