The Caretaker

This image is from our past trip to Bhutan…another portrait of one of the people that I found so inspiring. We found the people of Bhutan to be welcoming and warm everywhere that we went. It seems to just be their nature, part of their culture.

We met this gentle soul while hiking up to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal, an important and beautiful temple that overlooks the Punakha Valley. Looking ahead as we walked through the rice fields, we could see him spinning a prayer wheel that marks the start of the ascent up to the temple. When we arrived he greeted us with a smile and welcomed us to this sacred place…his sacred place. We discovered, with the help of our guide, that he is the head monk and the caretaker of the temple. 

After offering us a blessing, he encouraged us to continue our hike up to the main temple. He seemed genuinely happy that we were there to visit and we, in turn, felt fortunate that our timing allowed us this chance encounter.

I don’t often take portraits of people, but this was an experience I wanted to capture. Before leaving, I mustered up the courage to ask the monk if I could take his photograph and he happily agreed. With the light now above the mountains to the east and illuminating one side of him, I took this one image.

When I look at the image, I since the serenity and kindness that he possesses. Perhaps this is simply because of our personal encounter, but I hope that you can also see this in his eyes and expression. I also hope that if you visit Bhutan, you get a chance to meet him as well.