The saffron robes of buddhist monks are gorgeous, but even more beautiful are their serene faces.
Bhutan is unique and special. The flight into Paro Airport is legendary and exciting. Nestled on the southern slope of the Himalayas, this small buddhist country has become famous for it’s “Gross National Happiness” in contrast to gross national product. Indeed it’s main sources of revenue are hydroelectric power and tourism. The people are lovely, their fabrics colorful and the yak tasty.
As with many paces in Asia, the people don’t mind being photographed as long as it is done in a respectful manner. It is not acceptable to photograph inside a shrine or temple or to photograph monks during prayer.
The Bhutanese are master artisans and take pride in preserving their traditional arts and crafts.
They have worked closely with the Japanese in developing their paper industry. Being a paper junky and collector I visited one of their paper making facilities and had a great time watching and photographing them at work. It is very similar to other handcrafted processes I’ve seen in other countries yet they manage to put their own unique stamp on it.
While visiting one of the remote monasteries, a group of nomads arrived with their families to receive blessings from the monks and masters. It was a fortunate time for us to be there.
In the ruins of the ancient city of Kashgar, we visited the Mor Pagoda. It was the first Buddhist Temple established in China and dates from the 2nd century AD. Ancient Kashgar was an important city along the Silk Road but was abandoned in the 10th century after internal strife and a war of succession led to the adoption of Islam as the official religion. When the city location was moved 30 km away, it continued to be an important Silk Road destination.
We completed our three day crossing of the Pamir Mountians to China by way of the Torugart Pass. Two days were spent in high altitude yurt camps. I have a detailed account coming as well as more photos. There’s no youtube here so I won’t be able to upload more video for a while.
Yesterday we visited the first Buddhist temple in China, built in the 2nd century AD in the ancient pre-Islamic city of old Kashgar. I have video, in fact I have several vids and photos ready to go but I can’t seem to upload anything here. I’m going to see how it goes. More updates should be up soon.
Yikes! edited for typos.