I’m sending someone a string of prayer flags! And this is why…..
It was difficult finding something to send off as a souvenir from India, mainly because I was determined to offer something cool that both guys and girls would like.
An added complication was the guaranteed nightmarish shopping experience. It takes a lot of will power and self-control (to prevent lashing out) during any and all shopping endeavours. Shopping will always include a persistent vendor or shop owner eagerly pushing his products on you for a “special price”. If only they’d understand that their forcefulness makes you almost 100% less likely to make a purchase.
The only place free from this was Dharamshala, a Tibetan refugee town that stole my heart. The town is almost entirely made up of Tibetans who fled their country up to a generation ago. It’s so Tibetan that you struggle to find Indian cuisine up there.
Finally I came across prayer flags for sale. I’m sure you’ve seen these strings of flags somewhere in the world and perhaps not thought much of them. That’s how it was for me anyway.
My visit to Dharamshala enlightened me. I saw them for myself- strung along mountain ridges and peaks high in the Himalayas. Numerous, meaningful and beautiful, blowing in the wind. On the colourful blocks are mantras and prayers for long life and good fortune. They are believed to have originated from a religion that predated Buddhism.
These flags are not a religious symbol for me. To me, they mean Tibet. To me they are a symbol of the ongoing crisis in the country overpowered by China and overflowing with human rights violations.
If you’d like one for yourself for whatever reason; religious, awareness, decoration or even if you just think the Dalai Lama is the coolest guy- it’s easy to become a contender!
1. Answer the following question in the comment section of the ‘India Souvenir Giveaway’ post of the Wanderlust Facebook page.
“Where does his Holiness Tenzin Gyasto, otherwise known as the Dalai Lama, live?”
2. Share the post on Facebook
3. For extra brownie points, invite 5 friends to like Wanderlust 😉
4. Cross your fingers and hope that my list randomizer picks you!
***Learn more about Tibet at www.freetibet.org
**Photos of the Dalai Lama taken from various internet sources.