3: Diya Chalwad
Established more than 1,500 years ago and home to some 3,000 monks, the Shaolin Monastery lies nestled in the misty, mountainous jungles of central China. One of China’s most important pilgrimage destinations, this world famous monastery is renowned for its age-old tradition of practicing both Zen Buddhism and martial arts. The Shaolin Temple – a picturesque compound of prayer halls, tree-dabbled courtyards, and Buddhist shrines set against a lush mountainside – was founded in 495 AD by the monk Buddhabhadra, who had traveled from India to China. Centuries later, two Indians are keeping the connection of India to Shaolin alive.
Diya Chalwad, a precocious 10-year-old is the monastery’s youngest student from India and 24-year-old Harsh Verma is the first Indian to become a part of the elite Shaolin performing monks’ team. In the hit films “Rocky Handsome” and “Kick”, the child actress gave a glimpse of the flute’s cuteness and acting film, we all have seen, given Rs 25,000 for the film’s one-day shoot Were. The birthplace of Kung Fu, the Shaolin Monastery is located at the foot of the Songshan Mountain (in China, Songshan is considered to be one of the country’s five most sacred mountains).
Founded by the Indian monk Buddhabhadra (known as Ba Tuo in China), the monastery became known for its warrior monks—a contradiction, given their commitment to nonviolence, but an advantage during wartime – in the year 621, a group of Shaolin monks came to the aid of the Tang emperor in battle. About a hundred years later, a south Indian prince-turned-monk, Bodhi Dharma (known as Ta Mo in China) arrived at the Shaolin monastery and is believed to be the founder of Chan Buddhism (the precursor to Zen Buddhism). The word ‘chan’ is believed to have come from the Sanskrit word ‘dhyan’ or meditation. The fact that India has been central to the Shaolin culture since its origin is one of the many reasons why Harsh Verma has made Shaolin martial arts an important part of his life.