My festival Story travelling in Bhutan


the dreaming palace

They come to be blessed, and I see this girl paused at the door, hesitant, that look of awe, excited, fearful. I feel we share a moment as she stands there on the brink of magic. This is the feeling that binds us in this Dreaming Palace.


shoot the dance of drums

There is a strange disconnect at the dance festival. People focus on the festival through a glass lens, a young boy and his toy pistol engage a comic book hero moment against hapless enemies. This is the blessing dance ceremony performed for hundreds of years, granting all who are present forgiveness of sins and a better next life, of which we, including me focussed as I am in the audience, apparently have no need.


Tolerance and prayer

In the late afternoon, the monks are chanting their deep vibrating hum, playing jarring horns and trumpets. The whole red temple vibrates in the dark dusty air, scented in incense, light only by candles and small windows in the top of the walls. It is a time of blessing, and respite against the hard day’s toll.