Photojournalism From Tibet in Exile

Everyday Exile Photojournalism showcases images from Tibetan exile communities, mainly in India. The goal is to educate viewers in other countries re: everyday life, culture and issues facing Tibetans who have fled Chinese-occupied Tibet.

All images copyright 2010-2015 by Tammy Winand and may not be used in any way without the express written permission of the photographer. Please contact via email for permissions.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Late Afternoon Kora at the Great Stupa of Boudha
Kora (Tibetan,literally "circle"), is a form of walking meditation. The most simple explanation for westerners unfamiliar with this tradition is that Tibetans (and some other Buddhist traditions) walk clockwise around a holy site, such as a monastery or stupa, chanting mantras (a form of prayer) and moving their prayer beads with each prayer repetition. Kora are usually lined with prayer wheels, mani stones, and strung with prayer flags as forms of offerings.
Devotees may do a minimum of one circuit. A common number of repetitions is three (one for each of the Three Jewels-Buddha, Dharma, Sangha). 
Very devout pilgrims may do the kora while prostrating (bowing) repeatedly along the length of the path. Some view kora as a social event and go with friends. Others have told me that for them it is more a form of exercise than meditation.

In McleodGanj (Dharamsala, HP, India) the main kora is a path which goes through a wooded area around the perimeter of the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. There is also a kora inside His Holiness' Tsuglakhang temple there.

In Boudha (Kathmandu, Nepal) the most famous kora is at the Great Stupa, followed by the stupa at Swayambu. 

The following images all feature kora in Tibetan Buddhist communities in either India or Nepal.
Tibetan Women in the Settlement of Bir, HP, India Making Kora of a Stupa at Choekling Monastery

Tibetan Woman in Traditional Chupa doing Kora at Great Stupa, Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal

Tibetan Woman at Kora...Not Everyone Wears traditional Clothing in to Kora

All images copyright 2015 Tammy Winand, all rights reserved. Please contact via email for usage permissions, or see my stock galleries on shutterstock, dreamstime, 123rf, and mostphotos (largest selection of India, Tibetan, Kathmandu related images) to download.

1 comment:

  1. I have just discovered this blog and I am loving it. As a photographer, and also as a student who just arrived in McLeod Ganj two days ago, there is a lot to learn here. I have done the Kora a few times myself, but thank you for some of your description. I did not know that there were different kind of levels of doing a circle around the temple.

    One thing I have not found much of an answer to is why clockwise is so important. Do you know?

    I will continue following your blog. I would love to be involved in any way that I can. If you are interested in contacting me my blog is