Bhutanese Wind Horse (Lung Ta) Prayer Flags

14 November, 2011

Colorful prayer flags are one of the most common sights when travelling around Bhutan – you will find them at temples, chortens, mountain tops and even at the back of some vehicles.

Windhorse Bhutan Prayer Flags Lung Ta

There are two kinds of prayer flags:
Horizontal ones, called lung ta (meaning “Wind Horse”) in Tibetan, and
Vertical ones, called Darchor. Dar translates as “to increase life, fortune, health and wealth”, and Cho translates as “all sentient beings”.

Lung Ta (horizontal) prayer flags are of square or rectangular shape and are connected along their top edges to a long string or thread. They are commonly hung on a diagonal line from high to low between two objects (e.g., a rock and the top of a pole) in high places such as the tops of temples, monasteries, stupas or mountain passes. They are also known as Wind Horse flags because the “Wind” will spread the prayers and mantras on these flags around the world at the speed of a “Horse”.

Traditionally, Lung Ta come in sets of five, one in each of five primary colors. The five colors represent the elements and are arranged from left to right in a specific order: blue (symbolizing sky/space), white (symbolizing inner-self/cloud), red (symbolizing fire), green (symbolizing water), and yellow (symbolizing earth).

Darchor (vertical) prayer flags are usually large single rectangles attached to poles along their vertical edge. They are commonly planted in the ground or on rooftops. Although they can also have the 5 different colours mentioned above, they are very often all white in Bhutan.

Windhorse Bhutan Prayer Flags Lung Ta

Prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, a common misconception; rather, it is believed that the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space. Therefore, prayer flags are thought to bring benefit to all.

Getting to Bhutan

To book a trip, contact Bhutan-travel specialist Druk Asia (; +65 6 338 9909; email

Zhiqiang & Tingyi

Comments (10)

  • Peter LeeReply

    18 November, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    What a beautiful wish consist a single and short words “Darchor and lung ta”.

  • TajReply

    19 November, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing such informative post regarding the Bhutanese Wind Horse (Lung Ta) Prayer Flags, I was searching the same, now it will help a lot

  • eviewReply

    19 November, 2011 at 7:40 pm

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  • PlanReply

    21 November, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I won’t be able to thank you fully for the articles on your web-site. I know you’d put a lot of time and energy into all of them and hope you know how much I appreciate it. I hope I could do the same for someone else sometime.

  • kimReply

    23 November, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Wow! This is my first time to know about the beliefs of Bhutan people. I wish I could visit the place too and can do the prayer flags. This is a very informative post to read.

  • CherylReply

    26 November, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I really have no idea about their beliefs. Thanks to you, I am well informed now…

  • Land of the Thunder Dragon Bhutan Trip Summary | Singapore Travel BlogReply

    28 November, 2011 at 10:57 am

    […] Windhorse Prayer Flags in Bhutan […]

  • GoingPlaces.sgReply

    12 December, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Bhutan is one of the destinations I would visit eventually. I also told the best time to visit is March/April. However, it is not cheap to visit Bhutan where a person typically has to pay about USD3k for a trip.

  • Taking on the Tiger’s Nest Challenge at Paro Taktsang Monastery | Singapore Travel BlogReply

    12 March, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    […] at the number of chortens (small prayer wheels and temples) along the trail and not forgetting the colorful windhorse flags […]

  • SumitReply

    28 December, 2015 at 12:13 am

    Thanks for all the details. I am travelling to Bhutan tomorrow and everything you have covered here is super helpful 🙂

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