Among various youth groups, 'Kuenphen, Let's Help!' a service group engaged in the whitewashing of chortens
in the country was awarded the Youth Community Award.
The Buddhist faith continues to play an integral role in forming the cultural, social and ethical fabric of Bhutan's society with chortens
or stupas (receptacles for offerings) lining the roadside and each Bhutanese home furnished with a special room made exclusively for prayer; a chosum.
Among the topics are new discoveries and documentation of ancient petroglyphs of Ladakh, an archaeological account of ten ancient painted chortens
in Ladakh and Zanskar, the iconography and the historical context of the drinking scene in the Dukhang at Alchi, a preliminary historical and architectural analysis of Chigtan Castle and Mosque, the trade and use of silk-brocade from Benaras to Leh, and the conservation of architectural heritage in Ladakh.
Tabo is the largest monastic complex in Spiti and has nine temples, twenty three chortens
, a monks' chamber and a nuns' chamber.
And if you've had your share of wanderlust and travelled in the Himalayas, you're likely to have spotted the chortens
. A special pagoda, these are built in the confluence of rivers or roads in memory of monks who have passed away or to ward off evil.
The valleys along the Dochula mountain pass from Thimpu to Punakha in Bhutan are scattered with rhododendrons and star magnolia trees in vivid splashes of pink, orange, red, and white, providing a stunning background to the mighty Punakha dzong (fortress), temples, and chortens
(stupas) along the route.
Each and every mountaineer and Sherpa on their way to Everest Base Camp, and beyond, files past the rocky cairns and tended shrines, called chortens
There are also broken clay images and chortens
For that reason, the landscape in Bhutan is dotted with "chortens
," small buildings that offer homage to prominent lamas or to appease spirits - such as the "lu" - who are equally capable of doing good or evil.
'there it is' says Karma, pointing to a long low line of chortens
[Tibetan stupas] in the distance and a mass of prayer flags, pushing taut in the wind....we follow the stream up to the top of this gentle hill and there it ends, in a pale rock face at the foot of which water bubbles up from the mossy earth.
Hindu 'god parts', as Meeker has rightly called them (often enough they are compilations rather than one godhead swallowed whole) adorn Buddhist chortens
; a tile with Ganesh at its centre is labelled 'Made in USA' and exhorts supplicants to call the toll-free 1-500 Good God.
Red-robed monks are a common sight; everyone wears the colourful traditional dress; chortens
(small shrines) and prayer flags line the houses, roads, bridges and hilltops You will definitely stand out in your jeans and T-shirt, but don't worry.