The Spinning Prayer Wheels of Leh, Ladakh
“Tibetan prayer wheels (called Mani wheels by the Tibetans) are devices for spreading spiritual blessings and well being. Rolls of thin paper, imprinted with many, many copies of the mantra (prayer) Om Mani Padme Hum, printed in an ancient Indian script or in Tibetan script, are wound around an axle in a protective container, and spun around and around. Typically, larger decorative versions of the syllables of the mantra are also carved on the outside cover of the wheel.
Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying this mantra, out loud or silently to oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.
Viewing a written copy of the mantra is said to have the same effect – and the mantra is carved into stones left in piles near paths where travelers will see them. Spinning the written form of the mantra around in a Mani wheel is also supposed to have the same effect; the more copies of the mantra, the more the benefit.” ~ Dharma Haven
I have never seen a Prayer Wheel before traveling through Leh, Ladakh. They’re everywhere!
There are HUGE beautiful ones:
And then there is a multitude of simpler ones like these:
The locals also have their own mini-version portable wheel that they carry with them:
This one guy was in a complete trance with his own prayer wheel + beads at a temple we visited:
I personally, just LOVED spinning these whenever I got a chance!
Pro tip: Spin clockwise for good luck :)