While traveling you sometimes get an unexpected treat. In Bhutan the state religion, Tibetan Buddhism, plays an important role in both the daily live of the people and the experience of the visitor. And monasteries still have an important role in the society. When I visited Bhutan I had the opportunity to witness an ancient Tantric Buddhist rituals that has its roots in ancient animist cultures.
Jakar lies in the Bumtang area, a large complex of four open valleys that is an important agricultural center. When I was there the monks of the Namkhe Nyingpo monastery performed some intriguing rituals. Mandala’s were made on all four sides of the courtyard. They were covered with neatly stacked piles of wood in four different colors. After these were lit different kinds of food, cloth, herbs and spices were thrown in the fire. The ceremony took several hours and the chanting of the monks together with the music and the choreographed ritual made for a unique experience.