A dance performed at the tshechu in Tashichho Dzong in Thimphu, Bhutan's capital.
Tshechu, literally "day ten", are annual religious festivals of the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. They are held in each district of Bhutan on the tenth day of a month of the lunar Tibetan calendar, the month depending on the place.
The dances often offer moral instruction relating to compassion for sentient beings and are held to bring merit to all who perceive them.
Punakha Dzong or Pungtang Dewa chhenbi Phodrang, The Palace of Great Happiness or Bliss.
A dzong is both a fortress and a monastery, and serves as the religious, military, administrative, and social center of its district.
Constructed in 1638 by Ngawang Namgyal, the main Drukpa hereditary lineage–holder, the 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche, and the first to unify warring valley kingdoms under a single rule to create the Bhutanese nation-state.
Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. Lung ta, "Wind Horse", prayer flags are thought to spread the good will and compassion of their prayers and blessings into all pervading space by the wind. Hanging them in high places is thought to bring benefits to all. Wind passes over the surface of the flags, which are sensitive to the slightest movement, and the air is purified and sanctified by their mantras and images. As high winds whip through this mountain pass in Haa, the flags vibrate at such high frequencies they can be heard crackling - the line itself, taut and tested for its generosity.
A view of the road to Haa.
Located on the southern end of the Eastern Himalaya, Bhutan has one of the most rugged mountain terrains in the world, with elevations ranging from 520 feet to more than 23,000 feet above sea level.
A dance at the annual tshechu in Jakar, Bumthang.
Jakar comes from the word bjakhab, or "white bird", in reference to the dzong's foundation myth, according to which a roosting white bird signaled the proper and auspicious location to found a monastery in 1549.
Jakar is the capital of Bumthang, where the history of the Tshechu began when Padmasambhava visited Bhutan to aid the dying king Sindhu Raja. He is said to have accomplished this by performing rites, reciting mantras, and performing a dance of subjugation to conquer local spirits and gods in the Bumthang Valley.
The Taktsang Palphug Monastery or "Tiger's Lair", is a temple complex located in the cliffside of the upper Paro Valley.
The temple was built in 1692, by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye, around the Taktsang Senge Samdup Cave where Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days, and three hours after arriving at this location from Tibet on the back of a tiger from Khenpajong in the 8th century.
It was said a woman came and made thousands of prostrations until her feet wore through the wooden floor of this monastery.
Four children at play in the trees of Yowakha, a small village hamlet below Chimi Lakhang.
A view from the hillock on which Chimi Lakhang sits. The path to the monastery must be made from the nearby village of Sopsokha, a 20 minute walk through the fields of mustard and rice.
The third courtyard at the southernmost end of the Punakha Dzong, where the remains of Pema Lingpa (left) and Ngawang Namgyal (right) are preserved. The structures are Machey Lakhang, machey meaning "sacred embalmed body."
Pema Lingpa was a Bhutanese saint and siddha of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, and the foremost of the Five Tertön Kings. A "preeminent tertön", or terchen, is a discoverer of spiritual treasures.
Children run home from school alongside the Black-Necked Crane's protected wintering area in Bumdeling, situated in the Phobjikha Valley, part of Jigme Dorji National Park.
A cloud's shadow cast between the stark peaks and valleys of Jigme Khesar Nature Preserve in Haa; one of ten national parks and sanctuaries that cover 60% of Bhutan, each connected by biological corridors. In the foreground are one of the 50 naturally occurring species of rhododendron in Bhutan.
The Kingdom of Bhutan 2012