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At the Miss India contest 1994
See also Miss India winners: 1994
Barkha was one of the finalists at this historic national contest.
She represented India and was crowned 3rd Runner Up at the Miss Tourism International pageant, held in Malaysia in 1994
A successful fashion model
Did around 20 TV shows.
2010: Set up her own film production house.
As an actress
Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), with Rekha and Akshay Kumar.
Driving Miss Palmen (1996), an Indo-Dutch co-production.
As a producer and actress
Bhoot (ghost) (2003), Ram Gopal Varma’s horror film, in which she played the eponymous ghost.
Soch Lo (2010), produced by Barkha, in which she also acted.
Surkhaab (2012: US and Canadian release; 2015: Indian release) Barkha produced and acted this film in 2012 before becoming the Venerable Gyalten Samsen. The film is about illegal immigration and human trafficking, in which she plays Jeet, a Judo gold medallist forced to flee her country. It was shot in Toronto and the Punjab in 25 days with a skeletal 10-member unit on a shoe-string budget. Madan jokes that she was the co-producer, the lead actress, and the chaiwallah. (From Roshmila Bhattacharya)
Her Holiness, the Ven. Gyalten Samsen
On November 4, 2012 Barkha Madan renounced the world and became Gyalten Samsen, a Buddhist nun. The decision wasn't prompted by financial lows, professional woes or heartbreak.
She had enjoyed being an actress and was fascinated by the world of make-believe reality. But there was a nagging restlessness, niggling questions about whether this was her life's purpose.
As a sixth grader she'd visited a monastery in Sikkim where her army officer father was posted and had felt at home. In 2002, the feeling of home-coming returned while she was listening to the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Drawn by the happiness on his face, she asked Lama Zopa Rinpoche if she could make her a nun too. Rinpoche laughed, "Why? You fought with your boyfriend? Joining the monastic order isn't about escapism. You need to embrace Buddhist philosophy and reflect on why you want to walk the path of Divination."
[In 2012] Lama Zopa Rimpoche went for divination and returned to inform her that she would be ordained at 9 am the next day.
[Thenceforth, Her Holiness’] wardrobe was down to two sets of robes, some woollens to ward off the chill and a pair of flipflops. Her only worldly possessions were her cell phone and laptop. She started living off her savings.
She can be found meditating at Dharamsala or caring for HIV positive kids at the Tara Children's Project in Bodh Gaya.
Her teacher-mentor is Ven. Robina Courtin, a martial arts expert from England, fondly referred to as the Dalai Lama's bodyguard.