Posted in Bhutan, Buddhism

Praying for the cranes

While most of the world is busy destroying itself, its wonderful to know of a monastery where Buddhist monks spend their time praying for black-necked cranes! A few days ago I saw a great programme on NatGeo on Bhutan, and was intrigued by the story of these cranes.

The Gangtey gompa  in central Bhutan is a monastery specially for them.They  return here every winter and have been doing so for centuries. Near the gompa are marshlands, the natural habitat of the cranes.
There are  15 crane species, including the black-necked cranes.Black-necked cranes are thought to live up to  80 years and mate for life. As they reach the monastery, they are said to circle it three times, before they touch ground, as Buddhists circle sacred sites .
After they arrive, pairs of cranes dance, and throw objects towards each other, a strange gift- giving ceremony.
Near the monastery  in Bhutan, the cranes are protected. Killing a crane leads to imprisonment.When the cranes arrive safely, it indicates a good year for Bhutan.

The black-necked crane festival is celebrated every year in November.



A writer with ten published books and several articles, book reviews etc. I primarily write on history and religion, but also philosophical fiction.

2 thoughts on “Praying for the cranes

  1. I’d heard that when the first Royal Albatross/Toroa returns to their nesting site near the city of Dunedin (New Zealand), the church bells ring. After reading your post I looked for confirmation of this, and found this article from last year which, though nowhere near what you describe, I thought would interest you.

    There’s more about Toroa and their significance here.

    Liked by 1 person

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