Prayer flags are an integral part of Buddhist tradition. Traditionally, prayer flags come in sets of five, each of a different color. Each color represents one element. Blue symbolizes space, white symbolizes air, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth. Prayer flags are thought to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. It is believed that the prayers will be blown by the wind to spread compassion and good will through to the all pervading space.
This photograph was taken at the Mahakala temple at Darjeeling. Walking up a steep and narrow path winding up a hill, one reaches the temple complex which is adorned with thousands of prayer flags. The temple is unique in that it has altars for both Hindu and Buddhist deities. It is a place where one can hear the symphony of hymns being chanted by Hindu priests and rhythmic vibrations of Buddhist monks reading out from their scriptures. It is located atop what is known as the Observatory hill which also renders beautiful views of the mountains all around.