Some time back I had written about the Indian postal departments philately scheme to let you receive newly released stamps at your home after opening an account with them. This has proven to be very useful to someone like me who doesn't hang around the country for more then half the year.
On returning back home this time, I saw that the postal department has released some great stamps over the last few months. The Miniature sheet for the 2550 years of mahaparinirvana of the Buddha is one of the most beautiful pieces of work I have seen released by this country.
The first of the six postage stamps depicts a statue from the gandhara period of Siddhartha when he was a prince. The second stamp is a sculpture from Myanmar where buddha is an ascetic. The third stamp depicts the blissful head of the meditating Buddha from Sarnath, India. The fourth stamp is that of Buddha holding the nectar of immortality in a jar & the fifth stamp contain incarnations of Buddha past and future. The Hinayana symbols such as the lotus and dharma chakra is shown in the sixth stamp.
"Parinirvana" is the final deathless state where one abandons the earthly body and attains freedom from the cycles of birth and death. I don't think I know much about that, the sheet sure does look great.
The second set of stamps that is good is the set about the fairs of India. The four fairs covered in this miniature sheet are the Goa carnival, pushkar mela, sonepur fair, & the Baul Festival. Sadly I haven't been to any of them. I think I need to see more TV.
The postal dept have not come out with a miniature sheet for the Himalayan lakes, but only with a set of five stamps. The lakes covered by this set are the Chandratal in lahul & Spiti, Roop Kund , Tsangu on the Gangtok - nathula road, Sela Lake near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh & the Tsomoriri Lake in Ladhak.
Of these, I have only been to the Tsangu lake when I went to the Nathula. I missed seeing the Tsomoriri during this visit to Leh. I think I'll do it the next time I go by road.
Finally we wrap up with the set of scented stamps. As far as my memories go, only three other countries have released scented stamps. India released two of them over the last year. The first was the sandalwood stamps and they do smell really nice. The postal dept then released the rose stamps very fittingly on the Valentines day. :)
It feels unreal to think that the total cost of all the above gems is less then four dollars.
Giant Pandas - Singapore - The Singapore Philatelic department has released stamps to celebrate the coming to Singapore of a set of Giant Pandas (on loan) from China for the next ...