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Himalaya

Day 114: Paro

Paro, Bhutan 
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Monks at the Queen Mother's Temple pray and play for our safe travelling beyond Bhutan.
Michael Palin - HimalayaEnd up the day on a very different note. In the Queen Mother's Temple, a ceremony has been laid on to wish us good fortune for the rest of the journey. In a room, covered in beautifully detailed paintings of the various stages of the Buddha's life and incarnations, a group of eight monks has assembled for music and prayers. The chantmaster, or udze, sits on a dais and leads a chant in Cholkay, a variation of the Sanskrit in which Buddha himself wrote. The other monks chant with him or play oboes, drums, cymbals and the dungchen, the long trumpet that rests on the floor and makes a deeply mournful sound.

It's a serene and rather moving ceremony, quite
unexpectedly interrupted by the sound of a mobile phone. An elderly monk, next to the chantmaster, fishes around inside his habit and switches it off.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 114: Paro
  • Country/sea: Bhutan
  • Place: Paro
  • Book page no: 260

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