Bhutan Prayer Wheels: Lakhor & Mani Wheels

The cylindrical wheels seen around Bhutan are prayer wheels that rotate on a spindle made from metal, wood, stone, leather and coarse cotton. Every prayer wheel is inscribed with the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” on the outside, while the inside is filled with copies of sacred texts. It is believed that the act of spinning prayer wheels is the same as orally reciting the prayers and is thus spun clockwise as the mantras are written in this direction. As seen at the National Memorial Chorten at Thimpu, “Lakhor” prayer wheels completely surround the chorten. Buddhist devotees are seen walking clockwise around the chorten and turning each prayer wheel one at a time. Meanwhile, some devotees carry the hand-held prayer wheels known as “Mani wheels” as they circumambulate the chorten. The Mani wheel is mounted on a wooden or metal handle and is weighted down with a cord or chain that is used to spin the prayer wheel by just a slight rotation of the wrist.