Posted on 02/04/2008

Photo taken on January 16, 2008

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Passing the Chorten in the clockwise direction

Passing the Chorten in the clockwise direction
Pilgrims and travelers circumambulate stupas as a form of respect and devotion. Movement along the circular path (Tib. kora) is clockwise, so that the right shoulder is always facing the monument.
The Bhutanese style chorten is a square stone pillar with a khemar or red band near the top, and sometimes a representation of the sun and moon by a ball and crescent on the top. The square or rectangular base symbolizes the earth and the half-spherical dome symbolizes water. The crescent moon and a sun on top symbolize air, and a vertical spike symbolizes the sacred light of the Buddha. The life-spirit of the chorten is a carved wooden pole called sokshing, which is placed inside.
Chortens are sometimes built in memory of an individual, and other times to commemorate the visit of a saint, or to house sacred books or bodies of saints or great lamas.