Tag Archives: worship

Oh, Saigon! It was a name familiar to those of us who grew up in the West: first as an exotic part of France’s colonial empire, until – as Saïgon – it achieved a hard-won independence in 1955, and then as a component of the evening news for its pivotal role in the Vietnam War; the city now known as Ho Chi Minh (HCM) has been at a […]

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“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them […]

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Some days feel dark. Very dark. It is a truism that the best way to combat darkness is to shine a lamp or light a candle. Loi Krathong  (ลอยกระทง) is Thailand’s own festival of lights. On the evening of the twelfth full-moon of the traditional Thai lunar calendar, Thais – and lucky visitors – congregate around a body […]

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The best way to immerse yourself in a new culture is to spend time where local people congregate and worship. In the early morning of my first day in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, I took a taxi across the busy city centre from my hotel in the east, to the country’s largest monastery, Gandantegchinlen (“the great place of complete joy”) Khiid, west of city […]

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“The palace of great happiness or bliss.” That is how Pungtang Dechen Photrang Dzong translates from Bhutanese.  Also known as Punakha Dzong, it has been an auspicious fortress for many years. Punakha Dzong was the seat of the Government of Bhutan until they moved the capitol to Thimphu in 1955. It is still the administrative centre for the Punakha District, and houses a number of precious […]

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