Om mani padme hum

Turning the wheels

More than a hundred prayer wheels around the Namgyal Monastery in Dharamshala.

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Beads for monks

Monks have to haggle in the market, too

In the market leading up to Dharamshala’s Namgyal Monastery, the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama in exile, a fierce debate breaks out, not over theology or discipline, but the price of prayer beads.

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Marching faithful

Prayer hip shot

Amritsar’s Harmandir Sahib — more commonly known as the Golden Temple — sees a steady stream of pilgrims who come to Sikhism’s holiest grounds to pray. It’s a nonstop flow of worshipers.

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Thai food diary: Offerings

Food prayer

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Prayers of all sizes


Peace found at Pemayangtse above Pelling. I was there for last month Saga Dawa, also known as Buddha’s birthday, and sat at prayer with a dozen monks.

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Tea at Pemyangtse

Foggy photo

The mist fogged my glass.

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Starting the day

Morning prayers

Each school day starts with an assembly of Buddhist prayers and a recitation of India’s national anthem, Jana Gana Mana.

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Pooja for peace in the valley


A day of prayer and worship, a procession of holy books marched through the Bhuriakop valley with burnt offerings, bows of respect and blessings. For peace and harmony in the valley.

We hiked with the books to the market, then a kilometer up hill to the area gompa for pooja.

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Solitary prayer

Worship in your own way

At about 7 a.m., we were in the crowds of people streaming into the Taj Mahal for the glory of sunrise. Most tourists make straight for the Taj itself, to admire the monument as the marble changes in the warming light.

After a quick stroll around the gardens, I made for my favorite spot in the Taj complex, the western mosque. There I sat for the better part of an hour to meditate and pray. Other than a few pilgrims (like the one above), some dying bees and a man cleaning the mosque floor, I was alone.


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Delhi Street Jams, Vol. 2

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Two weeks ago I came home from a bike ride to watch crews set up what could have been mistaken for an Indian carnival tent on a sidestreet near my apartment: four walls of purple and orange curtains, without a roof and lit by generator-powered flood lights.

At first, I assumed it was a wedding and got excited to gate crash. Then, after speaking to our block’s chowkidar (watchman), I learned it was a pooja (prayer service), though for what I couldn’t quite understand. Decorum won out, and I respectfully decided not to interlope.

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