Shekiah Legacy Facts & Miscellany

I recommend that you read The Shekinah Legacy before studying this page, as the facts may give away some of the intriguing plot points of the story. This page is best suited for those who wish to dig deeper into some of the fascinating historical information and who are interested in learning about sources of inspiration for the author.


What Is the Shekinah?

In the Old Testament, the Shekinah is a name given to the “Glory of God,” the light that shone on the Ark of the Covenant and the burning bush, guiding the ancient Israelites. It is also associated with a bright star, perhaps the source of this light. 

Tradition tells us that this star, the Shekinah, was present at the birth of many of the manifestations of God on earth, including the birth of Jesus Christ. Some researchers have argued that this star is actually Venus, which has a forty year cycle between conjunctions. During a conjunction, Venus appears much brighter in the heavens.


Lake Minnetonka

Lake Minnetonka is the largest lake in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota. Charlotte Ansari, star international correspondent for CCN, lives on the shore of this lake with her Asperger’s son, Greg, and Persian husband Mihan (Mike).

Lake Minnetonka covers over 14,000 acres and has about 125 miles of shoreline. Minnetonka means “Big Waters” in the native Dakota language. Many of the state’s richest and most influential people live on or near the “Lake,” as it is simply called by locals.


India Gate

Originally known as the All India War Memorial, the India Gate is a prominent landmark in Delhi and commemorates the 90,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who lost their lives while fighting for the Indian Empire.

In this picture, author Gary Lindberg chats with a local souvenir vendor while videotaping the surounding terrain during research for a pivotal scene in the novel. The vendor appears briefly as a character in the story.


Golden Budha Park

The Baha’i “Lotus Temple” in New Delhi is open to people of all faiths to enjoy the peaceful landscaped grounds and worship or meditate in the temple, which is shaped in the form of a lotus blossom.

The Baha’i Temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions in India, and is truly an oasis of serenity and beauty in a city of smog and cacophany. It is here that Greg Ansari finally solves the second of two great mysteries in the novel.


The Baha'i Lotus Temple

The Baha’i “Lotus Temple” in New Delhi is open to people of all faiths to enjoy the peaceful landscaped grounds and worship or meditate in the temple, which is shaped in the form of a lotus blossom.

The Baha’i Temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions in India, and is truly an oasis of serenity and beauty in a city of smog and cacophany. It is here that Greg Ansari finally solves the second of two great mysteries in the novel.


Masada

Masada today is one of the Jewish people’s greatest symbols. Israeli soldiers take an oath there: “Masada shall not fall again.” Next to Jerusalem, it is the most popular destination of Jewish tourists visiting Israel.

After Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 A.D., the Great Revolt ended — except for the surviving Sicaari, who fled Jerusalem to the fortress of Masada, near the Dead Sea. There, they held out for three years before finally committing mass suicide to avoid capature. One woman, however, survived according to the historian Josephus. Her imagined story is at the heart of the novel.


Hemis Gompa

The Hemis monastic complex is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir within the Ladakh region of the Western Himalayas.It sits at an altitude of 12,000 feet, making it one of the highest settlements of the world. Hemis gompa is believed to have been established in 1630 by Lama Tagstang Raspa.

Today, a number of festivals are still held at Hemis Gompa, which has become a popular tourist destination during these events.


Dr. Bhatt

During research for the novel, author Gary Lindberg and his wife Gloria visited a Kashmiri shopping district in New Delhi, spending a great deal of time at a charming carpet shop. It was here that the seeds for critical parts of the story were planted.

The colorful, white-bearded proprietor became “Dr. Bhatt” in the novel, and his Kashmiri employees became key characters in advancing the plot. And yes, Gary purchased a wonderful Kashmiri carpet here.


Nicolas Notovitch

Nicolas Notovitch (1858-?) was a Russian aristocrat, Cossack officer, spy and journalist. Notovitch claimed that, while at the Buddhist monastery of Hemis, he learned of the “Life of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Men.” His story, with the text of the “Life,” was published in French in 1894 as La vie inconnue de Jesus Christ. It was translated into English, German, Spanish and Italian.

The Notovitch book contended that during the years of Jesus Christ’s life missing from the Bible, he followed travelling merchants abroad into India and the Hemis Monastery in Ladakh, India, where he studied Buddhism. The book is still in print.


Buddha Stigmata

In the novel, Greg Ansari discovers an unusual Buddha statue in a lower level of the Hemis Gompa. It is unusual because the Buddha bears distinctive “wounds” in his palms. This statue was inspired by a Buddha image that Author Gary Lindberg discovered during his research. He embellished the statue with rubies embedded into the wounds — poetic license.

In researching countless Buddha statues, this is the only one that Gary found with wound marks in the palms. The true meaning of these marks is unknown. But to readers of The shekinah Legacy, it is quite clear.


Kashmiri Shikaras

In the Old Testament, the Shekinah is a name given to the “Glory of God,” the light that shone on the Ark of the Covenant and the burning bush, guiding the ancient Israelites. It is also associated with a bright star, perhaps the source of this light. 

A typical shikara seats half-a-dozen people, with the driver sitting at the lower end. Like the Venetian gondolas, they are a cultural symbol of Kashmir.


Kashmiri Houseboats

The large, ornate, and occassionally whimsical houseboats of Kashmir were popular tourist destinations until hostilities broke out in Kashmir and tourism disappeared. Houseboats literally line the shores of Lake Dal in Srinagar. Unfortunately, the waste dumped into Lake Dal by these houseboats has caused such pollution that Kashmir has threatenedd to close them down as an environmental hazard.


Houseboat Interiors

Many of the houseboats in Srinagar have interiors that rival the Victorian mansions of London. Their opulence is due to the fact that many were built by British Raj officials as Himalayan holiday homes.


Roza Bal Map

This replica Google Earth map shows the location of Roza Bal in Srinagar. See if you can find it in Google Earth. It has a “Roza Bal” push pin marker on it.


Close-up of Roza Bal Map

In this close-up of the Google Earth map, you can see the green roof of the Roza Bal shrine building, and the large “park” situated across the street from it. It is through this park, now covered by more foliage, that Charlotte and Greg escape from the CIA.


Roza Bal Exterior

Roza Bal is considered by some to be the tomb of Jesus in Kashmir. The shrine is an unassuming building under the protection of the Kashmiri government. Most Kashmiris know it as the tomb of a Muslim saint, whose bones were mingled with those of another ancient wise man, Issa.


Roza Bal Sarcophagus

Inside the Roza Bal shrine is the sarcophagus, which may or may not contain the bones of Jesus. The interior of the shrine has periodically been revised by the government, including the structure of the small room that houses the sarcophagus. It has been reported that the relics may have been moved.


The Holy Prepuce

The “Holy Prepuce” — the circumcised foreskin of Jesus — became a most holy relic of the Catholic Church a few centuries after the death of Christ. This church in Calcata, Italy, claimed to have the actual relic in its possession, and until 1983 marched it down the streets in a parade celebrating the “Feast of the Circumcision”. In 1986, the relic was stolen.


Reliquary

This image shows the kind of reliquary that the Catholic Church has used to contain small relics, such as the Holy Prepuce.


* The dark code that runs across the top of this page is deciphered in The Shekinah Legacy. It is the beginning of a startling message from a woman who vanished thirty years earlier and whose life now depends on the success of a perilous, pulse-pounding mission by her daughter and grandson. Read the book to learn the entire message.

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