Bhutan has warned its citizens over cutting down thousands of young trees every year to make prayer flags, a threat to the tiny kingdom’s lush scenery and the government’s duty to bring “Gross National Happiness”.
Himalayan Buddhists put up prayer flags for good luck or to help the dead find the right path to their next life. The more flag poles put up for the departed the better, and Buddhist monks say fresh poles must be used each time.
Having failed to convince its citizens to switch from wood to steel for prayer flags, the government of the Himalayas’ last Buddhist kingdom is growing bamboo, which it hopes will be an attractive alternative.
Read the whole story here. (Photo: Prayer flags in Thimphu, 23 Aug 2003/Kamal Kishore)