A shrine or an altar?

I am not sure whether this little space in the woods of McLeod Ganj is an altar or a shrine. When I do a quick google search, the term is either used interchangeably or used with distinct meanings and purpose. So if you have any ideas or thoughts or even intutions, I would be very interested. 

But, this is what I do know from observation:

  • You can see many of these little spaces on walks through uneven dirt paths walking 30 minutes or so from McLeod Ganj to the next village of Dharamkot. You can also see them when you walk around the Kora – base of the Dalai Lama’s residence which is perched above. Again, it is about a 30 minute walk and one I did most days when I was in McLeod – not for religious reasons but for the experience and…exercise.
  • The little spaces are simple in structure and made of Tibetan prayer flags, bits of stone, twigs and lots of prayers, I imagjne. 
  • Usually there are little objects inside such as text on fragments of fabric, frames and vessels.
  • Although they may look ‘old’ and abandoned, they seem to be well used judging by the feeling that an object has been placed there not so long ago or that a prayer has just been made. 
  • Their placement seem ‘random’ to me as they could be on a hillside or on a rock or along a path. But, they look like they should be there – it just feels right.

I love to see such objects and spaces as they give me a tiny insight into a culture I have little real experience of. 

And…I think there could be many more spaces like these whether inwardly or outwardly and in whatever form, that peaceful living can take place. Imagine. Surely it must be possible.

2 thoughts on “A shrine or an altar?

  1. I don’t know your geographic location but we have these little places in the woods here, made of branches, twigs, and prayer flags. They are beautiful and I love your painting.


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