There was something completely peaceful, completely centering, and completely healing about listening to the sound of prayer flags flapping in the wind. Many times it was the only sound around. I found myself wanting to just stand there, sometimes amongst hundreds of prayer flags, listening, breathing, and feeling.
Prayer flags are inscribed with auspicious and sacred emblems, symbols, and texts in the forms of invocations, mantras, and sutras. All of which are prayers and blessings. Prayers and blessings for long life, good fortune, health, wealth, peace. Prayers and blessings for happiness, prosperity, protection from harm, strength. Prayers and blessings for wish fulfillment, luck, harmony, wisdom, merit, and compassion.
It is believed that when the wind moves prayer flags, even with the slightest breeze, these prayers and blessings become activated, and then are carried through the air in a spiritual vibration across the vicinity. Not only does the flag planter, but everything that is touched by the wind, and all sentient beings, benefit from the prayers and blessings that are carried by the wind.
No wonder I just wanted to stand there, surrounded by prayer flags moving in the wind. No wonder it felt so peaceful, centering, and healing to be in the presence of prayer flags.
Prayer flags are everywhere in Bhutan. In front of homes, hotels, shops, temples, monasteries, religious sites, places of spiritual importance. On rooftops and near roads. Down in the valleys, up on the hillsides. On bridges, over rivers, and at mountain passes. Attached to trees, and amongst red rice and other fields. Alongside, surrounding, or attached to chortens and prayer wheels. You see them when walking in the villages, when trekking, and when driving. They are placed where people gather for a special reason. Prayer flags are part of everyday life for the Bhutanese, and part of their Buddhist religion.
Many prayer flags are made out of five colors. Each color represents the five elements on a physical level, the building blocks of both our bodies and the environment. Yellow is earth; green is water; red is fire; white is air/wind/cloud; and blue is sky/space. (Although some sources assign the colors a bit differently.) On a spiritual level the five colors represent the five emotions, the five Wisdoms of Buddha, the five Buddha Families, the five Meditating Buddhas, and the five directions. These five colors also symbolize some of the prayers and blessings above.
There are several types of prayer flags in Bhutan. Lungdhar are square or rectangular in shape, made of the five colors, are connected along their top edges, and hung horizontally or diagonally on a string. In the center of each flag a prevalent symbol is printed, the Wind Horse (Lungta), which is a horse that carries on its back the wish-fulfilling jewel of enlightenment.
Darchor, also made of the five colors, are very tall vertical flags attached to poles planted in the ground. Darchor translates as “to increase life, fortune, health and wealth for all sentient beings.”
Lhadhar, the largest flag, are also very tall vertical flags. They are white in color, usually have no text, and contain ribbons of red, yellow, and blue. Lhadhar are displayed in front of important places, such as monasteries and palaces, and one must be formally dressed to enter these places. Lhadhar represent victory over the forces of evil, and are commonly inscribed with the four powerful animals, the tiger, the snow lion, the dragon, and the Garuda (a celestial royal bird). These animals are also on the four outside corners of a Lungdhar prayer flag, surrounding and guarding the Wind Horse.
Goendhar, the smallest prayer flags, are located in the middle of a rooftop of a home. Rectangular in shape, they are white with ribbons of green, red, yellow, and blue attached to the edges. These flags are blessings for welfare, prosperity, and harmony in the family.
Very tall white prayer flags, Manidhar, are also vertical and attached to poles. They are raised on behalf of a deceased person, as a way of remembering the person who died. It is believed that there are benefits from hoisting batches of 108 (an auspicious number) of Manidhar prayer flags. Although, hoisting one flag is just as beneficial.
Prayer flags are considered holy, and should be treated with respect. When raising or hanging prayer flags, it is important to keep in mind this saying: “May all sentient beings everywhere receive benefit and find happiness.”
While I bought some Lungdhar prayer flags to hang in my back yard at home to remind me of Bhutan, I miss seeing the colorfulness of the prayer flags everywhere. I miss hearing their flapping sound in the wind. And I miss being in their peaceful, centering, and healing presence.
Mr. Tharchu and Happiness Journey Bhutan were highly recommended to us by an acquaintance who had been to Bhutan previously, and now we know why. Mr. Tharchu coordinated our meeting with our guide and driver at the border, as we were driving from India, and it went flawlessly. All the details of our stay in Bhutan were handled expertly and went without a glitch. Our guide, Jigme, was attentive, polite, professional, and eager to please us. Our drivers were also professional and very safety-minded. As an unexpected surprise, we had the great pleasure and honor of having dinner with Mr. Tharchu at his home and met his beautiful family, too. My wife and I wholeheartedly recommend Happiness Journey Bhutan.
Wedding Paradise the Land of Happiness
No more cheesy or awkward poses…
Just natural and unique photos you will love.
Every wedding couple is unique. So should your photos! Our aim is not just to capture pictures but also to capture your story.
We have a great eye for detail and is able to capture the emotions and feel of the people vividly. We want to make sure YOUR wedding album will be the one to look back and remember for years to come. And you will be glad you chose us to be your wedding photographer.
Happiness Journey Bhutan also arranges a photographic tour in different kind of fields, like Traditional wedding ceremony, Pre- wedding and Wedding anniversary photo shooting in Bhutan. We can arrange Pre-wedding and Anniversary wedding photo shooting in different places like Dzongs, Temples, Monastery and Camps site. Also it can be taken nearby riverside, inside the forests with natural beauties and on the hilltops were there is a great view of mountains and the valley. The pre-wedding and anniversary wedding photos can be taken in different colors of dress both in western and traditional Bhutanese dress.
Do you want to celebrate your wedding amidst the enchanting views of Paro Valley? Our team will guide you throughout the planning stage to help your special day run smoothly. Follow this link for more details or email us at email@example.com for the bookings.
Bhutan is swiftly developing its reputation as a premier destination for adventure sports. Set amongst the majestic Himalayas our kingdom is the perfect location for all manner of exciting activities including Hiking, Trekking, Kayaking, Mountain Biking and Fishing. Whether it’s rafting down crystal clear, glacier-fed rivers or trekking through lush, virgin forests Bhutan offers a one-of-a-kind experience for travelers seeking adventure in an unspoiled and unexplored environment. All the necessary arrangements for adventure activities can be made through your local tour operator. They will provide you with well-trained and experienced guides to ensure your safety at all times.
I had the best week with Tharchu and Happiness Journey Bhutan. Tharchu is such a knowledgeable, professional and friendly guide and I really recommend his services to anyone looking for a guide in Bhutan.
Thanks again for a wonderful tour a few years ago, & lifelong memories of your amazing country.
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