Monk Rice 4 - Bhutan
The white walled monastery angles inward, a design to help survive earthquakes, thick at the base and tapered towards the top. An ornately carved entrance is flanked by two huge prayer wheels and then opens out into a small courtyard.
We spent an hour or so wandering around, photographing the monks when we had a chance. Inside a living room, the natural light was a portrait photographer's dream, the backdrop highly coloured walls festooned with paintings and photographs. Tea was served and we were then invited into the temple for a blessing by one of the head monks.
No photography is allowed inside and the rule essentially is that if you take your shoes off to go inside somewhere, you can't take photos.Which is a pity. The polished wooden floorboards were each half a metre wide with square wooden columns supporting an ornate ceiling. Behind a locked door was an altar surrounded by gold Buddhist statues representing gods and deities, plus two large elephant tusks.
We all stood in the confined space and enjoyed the silence. It had the feeling of a very spiritual place. The blessing was with a large metal key and lock which had great historical and spiritual significance. We each bowed our heads and the monk, using both hands, lightly touched our noggins with the lock.