Over two years ago during a small break to the city of Mussoorie in the northern part of India, I discovered a Buddhist village on a morning walk.It was my first time to see prayer flags gently blowing in the wind and the site was one of amazement and beauty. I had written a blog post about the experience in which I described the meaning behind the flags, but often wondered about who and how they were made.
Check out my Blog archive written on October 19, 2009.
Several months ago, on a trip to Gangtok, in far northwest India, the answer to my question was answered.
So I thought I would give you an insiders look to the people behind the scenes.......
Now keep in mind that Gangtok is in the mountainous region of the lower Himalaya's and most buildings are built on the slope of the mountains, so it was an oddity that while at street level I was actually descending a stairwell to reach the second floor of the building.
Needless to say.......it was a bit scary.....like descending into the underworld......but I was up for the adventure.
The shop was small........no lights, except from the window at the far end......using the outside light, two ladies sat behind sewing machines that required no electricity and the continued to work throughout my visit.
The shop walls were filled from floor to ceiling with material printed with prayers............in all colors, and were a stark contrast to the dingy walls behind.
I have to admit, two years ago my imagination ran wild with thoughts of Buddhist monks sitting in a quiet monastery in some remote location hand sewing the flags before they were bestowed upon villagers for hanging in outside locations to put their prayers forward to be carried by the wind.
I found the following quote and I believe that it is quite fitting considering what I have written:
“My imagination is a monastery, and I am its monk”
― John Keats