The Orange Robes of Laos

The Orange Robes of Laos

There are some thirty-four active Buddhist Temples or Wats and an estimated 2,000 monks in and around Luang Prabang, Laos. Boys as young a ten years old can enter a temple to receive religious training as well as a general education. A Monk’s day starts very early, usually around 4:00AM, with prayer and meditation in preparation for their alms gathering. Several hundred Monks walk barefooted through the streets of Luang Prabang at first light gathering alms from the faithful, a very solemn ritual that has occurred daily for over seven hundred years. The Monks then return to their Wats for their main meal of the day and then retire to their quarters in the afternoon for meditation and rest.

When one wanders around the temples in the afternoon, they appear deserted. A quiet serenity settles over the temple grounds. This is especially so in the more rural Wats where the only sounds are birds singing and bamboo rustling in the breeze. But there is a subtle indication that the monks are there: the ubiquitous orange robe. One is neatly folded across a window sill, a freshly laundered robe is drying on bamboo, or several are on a makeshift clothesline.

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Ron Mayhew

Fine Art Photographer specializing in Still Life and Commercial Photography.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Great set of pics, Ron. I especially like the washing hanging out to dry. 🙂

    1. Thank you Sylvia and thank you for stopping by.

  2. Beautiful! Love the last one of the glimpse of orange through the row of shutters.

    1. Thank you Madhu. It was so peaceful and quiet that afternoon – almost felt like we were trespassing.

  3. the images are soothing and calming. i loved the one with the strong shadows againt the white walls, (and the barrel bolts on the shutters..) who wouldn’t hold his/her breath and wonder if the rhombus house was about to topple forward!

    1. Lisa, yes I wonder if that house is still standing. It has probably stood just like that for years and years.

      1. i was explaining to someone the other day how my eyes are truly ‘always working’ – either my eye sees and then instantly breaks it down into how i could draw it.. or i am comparing light/shadow or looking at negative space or a pattern of shadows, or i see one splotch of orange and instantly connect it with all other visible touches of orange…

        it is the same with you, isn’t it? your eyes are always working, absorbing, connecting the dots!


        1. You are so right – never a quiet moment! Always framing and composing whatever I am seeing. 🙂

  4. Great pictures!!! I liked the orange robe hanging out the bambu, beautiful

    1. Thank you Silvava. The robe on the bamboo is a favorite of mine too.

  5. Love the way your shots each have just a touch of orange. very nicely done.

    1. Thank you Tina. I always look forward to your comments.

  6. You’ve captured the peace and tranquility, the slow, deliberate pace, the light touch. Loved this series, Rob – and the new Theme showcases them really well. 🙂

    1. Thank you. It is such a peaceful, tranquil place. Made it easy to capture the mood. I am glad you like the new theme.

  7. So beautiful!!!! I love all of them…I like very much the blue window with the two cloth pieces, ….Clear and beautiful!!!

    1. Thank you. I am so glad you enjoyed the series. Thanks for visiting.

  8. reminds me of my photos from Laos and make me want to go back

    1. Thanks for your comment. You should go back. I know I hope to. It is such a special place.

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