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Photographer's Note

These prayer flags were photographed at a place called Tashi viewpoint, high above the city of Gangtok in the far north-east region of Sikkim. The view was exceptionally disappointing due to thick cloud cover but the ares was strewn with fluttering prayer flags so I did manage a few pictures before heading down again.

The following information was edited from the Wikipedia on-line encyclopedia:

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Prayer flags are colourful, rectangular cloths often found strung along mountain ridges and peaks in the Himalayan regions. Unknown in other branches of Buddhism, prayer flags are believed to have originated with Bφn, which predated Buddhism in Tibet. Traditionally they are woodblock-printed with texts and images.

Prayer flags come in sets of five, one in each of five colors. The five colors represent the elements and are arranged from left to right in a specific order:

Blue (symbolizing sky/space)
White (symbolizing wind/air)
Red (symbolizing fire)
Green (symbolizing water)
Yellow (symbolizing earth)

The centre of a prayer flag traditionally features a "Ta" (powerful or strong horse) bearing three flaming jewels on its back. The Ta is a symbol of speed and the transformation of bad fortune to good fortune. The three flaming jewels symbolize the Buddha, the Dharma (Buddhist teachings), and the Sangha (Buddhist community), the three cornerstones of Tibetan philosophical tradition.

Surrounding the Ta are various versions of approximately 20 traditional mantras (powerful ritual utterances), each dedicated to a particular deity (in Tibetan, deities are not so much gods as "aspects of the divine" which are manifest in each part of the whole non-dual universe, including individual humans). These writings include mantras from three of the great Buddhist Bodhisattvas: Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), Avalokiteśvara (Chenrezi, the bodhisattva of compassion, and the patron of the Tibetan people), and Manjusri.

In addition to mantras, prayers for the long life and good fortune of the person who mounts the flags are often included.

Images (or the names) of four powerful animals (also known as the Four Dignities), the dragon, the garuda (a wise eagle-like bird), the tiger, and the Snowlion, adorn each corner of a flag.

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PP details: Full-frame shot, no cropping; Sharpness x 1; White frame added.

Regards,

Rich

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Additional Photos by Richard Mayneord (richwm) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 125 W: 33 N: 282] (1215)
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