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In the Mountains

When the location of the divine protectors of land is disturbed, bad things can happen. In 1983, a mountain expedition to the peak of the Jichu Drakye so angered the god that, therafter, the region was befallen by terrible hail storms. After this, a delegation of the affected villages went to the king with the plea to not allow such expeditions in the future. The inhabitants of the region feared that they would have to pay a high price for the athletic ambitions of the European mountain climbers. The king accepted this plea and forbid further expeditions to the Jichu Drakye.


For the people of Bhutan, height is always tied to sacredness. Here the gods dwell. It would never occur to them to set foot on their sites without good reason. If one has to cross a high pass, the Himalayan inhabitants honor the site - be it with the gift of a piece of cloth, a bundle of hair or merely a stone which one adds to the heap of stones on the height of the pass. Or one raises a prayer flag that is dedicated to the god of this site.

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Overpasses are places of special spritual purity. At the crossing of these passes, the mountain population takes great care, through sacrificial offerings, to appease the mountain god whose peace has been disturbed.
Photograph by Christian Schicklgruber

Wood; measurements 64 x 39 x 5 centimeters; on loan from Françoise Pommaret
The wind carries the prayers, that have been printed on prayer flags with printing blocks like this one, to the gods. The letters are carved into the wood in mirror-writing.