Chanting Nuns, Ani Sangkhung Nunnery

(order ID # CT35-03333)

The Barkhor section of Lhasa is its spiritual heart, the core of the old Lhasa. Hidden somewhere in this complex of twisty streets is the Ani Sangkhung Nunnery. I needed help to find it, and I could never find it again on my own. But it's worth tracking down. Unlike most monasteries, there is no admission fee. The nuns are happy to have photographers wander around inside the walled complex. I met a friendly group in one room assembling small prayer wheels, ubiquitous hand-held praying devices -- spinning the wheel sends prayers to the heavens. The nuns even let me try my hand at rolling one of the scriptural scrolls that goes inside a prayer wheel. Needless to say, they giggled at my ineptitude. I felt privileged to be allowed into their main assembly hall to take pictures while nuns were chanting their daily prayers. The thought of using a flash during this holy activity was unthinkable, so I made do with a 1/4 second shutter speed in the dim light. The people in the picture are a little blurred, but I think the sanctity of the moment is preserved in this photograph.

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