Tuesday, May 8, 2012


     Today (Monday, although it's taken until Tuesday morning to publish) I went out in search of the only Buddhist temple in Saint Petersburg. It was well-worth the search! This Tibetan temple is not unfamiliar to the tumultuous past of Russia, like many other landmarks, witnessing the trials and tribulations of creating the Russia we see today. The temple was inaugurated as such somewhere between 1913-1914 and became "The Source to the Holy Teaching of The Buddha". In 1919, it was vandalized by the Red Army, however services resumed for a brief period of time in 1927, after which lamas were arrested and sent to gulags (work camps) and the community ceased to exist (from 1935-1937, but in reality the religion was suppressed until the return of the temple in the '90's). It served as a youth physical training center in '38 and from '41-'60 it housed a radio station and labs from a Zoological Institute after that. In 1990, the temple was finally restored to the city's Buddhists. I was surprised by how beautiful the temple really was. There were prayer flags everywhere outside and, after paying only 5 rubles to enter, saw that the temple itself was equally as gorgeous (although pictures could not be taken inside). It was funny to me that I spent a whole semester in India (where there are many Buddhists far up north near the Himalayas), but did not encounter a single temple and yet, way out in Russia I managed to find one fairly easily in my current city of study.

(Inside the temple grounds, the red prayer wheels, and a view of the front of the temple)

(An offering for the Buddha. From what I gather by the offerings left around the temple, he likes M&Ms and cookies!)

After the adventure to the temple was over, we headed off to an alternative center to the city. It was a drastic contrast from the hustle and bustle of Не́вский проспе́кт  (Nevsky Prospectand very pleasant, I might add! A friend had gone there previously, telling us it was meant to be the original city center-and I can really see why! With its beautiful buildings and pedestrian-only main street, I felt like I was right at home on Church Street in Burlington again. I even stopped to film an accordion player belting his lungs out on the street. We also explored a bit beyond the area, following some of the tallest points we could see-all of which turned out to be churches. Enjoy!

(This is probably the fanciest McDonald's I have seen in any country so far. I would take a wiiiild guess and say that Russians seem to have a thing for this fast-food joint as they are located near many metro stops and always filled to the brim with people.)

(Pedestrian street? Felt just like home!)

(What didn't feel like home? This Russian accordion player!)

(I promise Promise PROOOOMISE to add the video in when I get some free time, you certainly will not want to miss it!)

(Victory Day banners are up everywhere! Can't wait for Wednesday's Parade!!!)

(Just stopping for some street corn like the good ol' days in India....this corn, however, was not nearly as delicious without the Indian lime and spices flavor)

And the day would of course not be complete without a little reminder of Russia's Soviet past...

dream.love.discover (reminders of the home you are only SIX DAYS away from),


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