Approaching a working monastery certain sounds begin to fill the air: the fluttering of prayer flags, the hum of monks chanting in unison, the periodic blowing of a traditional trumpet, the crashing of cymbals and the thud of ritual drums.
You may well pass a school for young monks, whose eyes fall to the ground with shy smiles. The monastery's wooden gates will open up to a stone-paved courtyard, with a prayer hall on one side and often stunning views on the other. The prayer hall is a sight to behold, layered with richly colored intricate murals, carvings and thangkas. Wall-to-wall shelves are filled with scrolls and scriptures that date back centuries. The sense of being transported to another world is almost inescapable, more so when prayers and rituals are being performed. You’ll find a sense of otherworldliness here, elusive in one’s daily life. Pray or meditate, light a butter lamp in the main hall, or simply sit in the courtyard and soak it all in.