Tormas at the 34th Kagyu Monlam

Torma artist creates a wax butter depiction of one of the first eight Karmapas.


Colorful gyens (decorations) will be mounted on the shalzes (sacred food offerings).


Lama Karma Samten paints the shalze stands.


Monk artist in deep concentration crafts tiny wax butter figurine. 


Artists prepare the gyentras (wooden plaques) that the individual sculptures will be mounted upon. 


Artist creates the flowers and foliage that adorn all of the gyentras.


The tools are made from a special Bhutanese wood that butter does not adhere to.


Torma artist nuns craft wax butter leaves.


This small sculpture will crown one of the gyentras (wooden plaques).


Torma for the Mahakala puja is carved by two artists.


A monk painstakenly creates a Namkha (threadcross) for the Gutor Mahakala practice.


With great diligence and devotion a Karmapa sculpture is born.


From top left clockwise: Rashtrapala, Virudaka, First Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa, and Dignaga.


Artist applies decorations to the base of a shalze.


The gyentras are slowly filled in with sculptures and decorations.


The Fourth Karmapa Rolpe Dorje.


Butter sculpture representation of offerings include elephant tusks, precious jewels, and coral.


Magyal Pomra in the east, a powerful Tibetan mountain deity.


Nyenchen Tanglha in the west.


Vaishravana, one of the Four Guardian Kings.


Virudaka, a close up view of this fierce Guardian King. 


Virupaksha, one of the Four Guardian Kings.


 Another view of Virudaka.


Close up of the Tibetan mountain deity Gyokchen Dongra of the north.


Tibetan mountain deity Magyal Pomra of the east.


A close up of the Guardian King, Vaishravana.


Spectacular close up view of Virudaka's frightful visage.


The Eighth Karmapa Mikyo Dorje.


The First Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa.


Pastel-petaled gyens adorn small offering shalzes with a Wangpo Nga (five sense faculties) torma in their midst.


Majestic mountain deity, Yigyal Makpon in the south, astride his mighty steed.


Full frontal facial closeup of the Guardian King Virupaksha.


At last, the butter sculptures and shalzes adorn the Pavilion altar.


One function of the Kagyu Monlam butter sculptures is to enhance the devotion of the aspirants.


From any angle the tormas are perfectly arrayed and beautiful.



37th Kagyu Monlam Schedule

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Recorded during the 37th Kagyu Monlam, Bodhgaya, India. January 28-30, 2020.