Tango, the Monastery

Today was another holiday in Bhutan. Life is good as a civil servant. Two friends and I hiked to Tango Monastery, which is also the Buddhist Studies University for the country, housing 250 monks. (Do the nuns get to study? I don’t know.) An easier hike than Tatkshang, but still noticeably uphill. I’m pretty sure the monastery placements high above are designed to facilitate-mimic-symbolize the process of enlightenment, an uphill, toe stubbing trudge for most, but if you are truly great your beautiful consort will turn into a tigress and fly you up. (Am I dreaming? Yes, I am.)

In any case, this place is beautiful, with exceptional architecture and detailing. Different elements were added over time, beginning in the 15th century. A monk showed us some of the holy figures and paintings, including thangkas that cried when an (important) body was being cremated, and another painting of Guru Rinpoche (he of the tigress) that finished itself overnight. My friends and I concluded that sort of thing sounded very much like Christian miracles (and happening in the same time periods?) So far, I’m sticking to earth worship. (By the way, the historical facts are cribbed from the Lonely Planet Guide.)

Here are some photos. (Uploading went more smoothly today. I did them all at once and went away for a long time.)

The land.

Prayer flags and monks' robes on the line.

Tango Monastery. Outside the gate.

Tango Monastery. Detail.

Tango Monastery. The arcing front face of the building.

Famous person's cave below.

The inside courtyard, much like a Christian cloister without the garden. Butter lamp building in the middle, dogs and roses on the left.

Women in kira and sensible shoes heading down. Another woman was wearing pretty purple pumps. How she did it, I don't know.

On the way home. The old and the new.

On the way home. The river.

In my mind, here is where the holiness lies, or flows, as the case may be.

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One thought on “Tango, the Monastery

  1. How often do they paint (thinking particularly of the monastery gate, which looks in very good shape, and not too weathered, paint-wise)? These photos are beautiful, thank you so much for sharing your adventure, Jennifer. The holiness does lie in the streams and piney woods for me as well. Wishing you all the very best – Lois Q

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