Om Mani Päme Hum
Bhuddist mantra painted as a mandala on a wall of Trongsa Dzhong, Bhutan
This stupa, easily identified by its Nepalese style (the eyes, the massive layered mandala upon which it sits), was built to subdue the demons of the particularly infested forest seen behind it. However, the forest remains so thick, dark, and frightening that no one ever dares to venture across the river that separates it from the protection of the stupa.
Yaks (There Were Babies!)
The Oldest Village in Bhutan
A little story my guide told me: A long time ago, all of the houses in this village were connected to each other by small hallways and antechambers—and the town was infamous throughout the entirety of Bhutan for it.
Whenever traveling merchants would pass through to sell their wares, they always, always, always had to make sure that the person whose door they were at had the money in hand before giving them any goods.
This was because people in this village were notorious for taking the goods and saying, “I’ll just be a minute; I have to go get my money”—and never being seen by the merchants again, having disappeared into the maze of houses, successfully duping gullible traders again and again.