Photographer's Note

Still on the Druk Path Trek between Timphu and Paro.

On each pass in Bhutan, even on the most remote trails, there is at least one chorten and many prayer flags.

Chortens (also called stupas) are the earliest Buddhist religious monuments and were originally only a simple mound made up of mud or clay, or a cairn in barren areas, to cover supposed relics of the Buddha.

Some of you were suprised in some post I made earlier to see white vertical colour flags (darchor) instead of the more usual coloured horizontal ones as shown on this picture. In fact there are two kinds of prayer flags: horizontal ones, called lung ta (meaning "wind horse") in Tibetan, and the vertical ones called darchor.

Lung Ta (horizontal) prayer flags are of square or rectangular shape and are connected along their top edges to a long string or thread. They are commonly hung on a diagonal line from high to low between two objects (e.g., a rock and the top of a pole) in high places such as the tops of temples, monasteries, stupas or mountain passes. Traditionally, Lung Ta come in sets of five, one in each of five primary colors. The five colors represent the elements and are arranged from left to right in a specific order: blue (symbolizing sky/space), white (symbolizing inner-self/cloud), red (symbolizing fire), green (symbolizing water), and yellow (symbolizing earth).

Darchor (vertical) prayer flags are usually large single rectangles attached to poles along their vertical edge. They are commonly planted in the ground or on rooftops. Although they can also have the 5 different colours mentioned above, they are very often all white in Bhutan.

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Additional Photos by JM Hullot (vincz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2604 W: 77 N: 5252] (19113)
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