If you have time before or after the retreat, then Orgiva is a good base for discovering Granada and the Alpujarras. If you have not already done so, then a visit to the the Alhambra is well worth while. It is less than an hour away and can be combined with a tour of Granada. See alhambradegranada.org
The Alpujarras is a natural delight. Roads were only introduced 30 years ago, before which the only transport was foot or mule. However, the area has been cultivated for thousands of years, thanks to the plentiful supply of melt water from the mountains and the ever present sun.
Although very hilly and mountainous every available surface was terraced for farming. So despite the passing of this way of life there remains a heritage of olive trees – hundreds of years old, of terraces and footpaths, and something more intangible – a feeling of peace and tranquility. From the fascinating mountain villages to the hidden green valleys, there is a treasure around every corner. Whether on foot or by car, there is plenty to see, to experience and to enjoy.
O Sel Ling – A little Tibet in the Alpujarras
During your stay at Jaramuza you may chose to take this special opportunity to visit a beautiful Tibetan Buddhist monastery perched high on the hills above Orgiva. Here with fabulous views of the surrounding landscape, the white villages and snow capped Sierra Nevada, you can breath the fine alpine air and feel a spaciousness and sanctity which will feed your soul.
It is a place of great mystery and tranquillity and like many Tibetan monasteries has been sited at a high altitude of 1600 meters and named by the Dalai Lama as a place of pure light. In fact it was the Dalai Lama who verified a little Spanish boy as the reincarnation of a great Tibetan named Lama Zopa, naming the boy Lama Osel and dedicating this monastery to him.
As you approach the monastery you will see a large prayer wheel which is traditionally used to spread prayers and blessings though out the area as it is turned. This wheel is carved with the most sacred of Buddhist mantras (prayers) Om Mane Padme Hum, and invokes a powerful Tibetan deity of compassion. It is good to walk slowly in a clockwise direction turning the prayer wheel meditatively whilst praying if you so wish.
You may then follow a little path up to a beautiful white stupa, a small but impressive monument which is the symbolic representation of Buddhism. Again you may wish to circumnavigate the stupa meditatively in a clockwise direction or simply gaze at the inspiring views and enjoy the peace.
Climbing steeply up another path you will come upon a huge and beautiful carving of the GreenTara, the sacred Tibetan goddess of compassion, surrounded by an artificial lake complete with lotuses.
After this breathtaking glimpse of Tara you can make your way down to the simple stone monastery itself seeing various small stone retreat huts on your way. With permission from the friendly staff you can enter the small meditation hall, or spend time in the little shop which sells postcards of the monastery and simple Tibetan artefacts.
Enjoy the blessings of your visit and let the cluttered mind be stilled.