Why do Indian bikers have multi coloured flags on their bikes?
If you have ever seen a group of bikers in India, you may have noticed that some of them have multi-coloured flags attached to their bikes. These flags are not just for decoration or fun. They have a deeper meaning and significance that relates to the culture and spirituality of the Himalayan region.
The multi-coloured flags are called prayer flags or lungta in Tibetan. They are a common sight in the mountains of Leh and Ladakh, where many Indian bikers go for an adventurous and scenic ride. These regions are influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, which is a branch of Buddhism that originated in Tibet and spread to neighbouring countries such as Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, and parts of India.
Prayer flags are made of cloth and have five colours: blue, white, red, green, and yellow. Each colour represents one of the five elements: sky, air, fire, water, and earth. The flags also have various symbols and mantras printed on them, such as the wind horse, the eight auspicious signs, the four dignities, and the six syllables of Om Mani Padme Hum.
The wind horse or rla tung is a mythical creature that resembles a flying horse with wings. It carries three jewels on its back: a wish-fulfilling jewel, a wheel of dharma, and a flaming sword. The wind horse symbolizes good fortune, blessings, and the life force of all beings. The other symbols also have positive meanings such as wisdom, compassion, protection, and harmony.
The purpose of prayer flags is to spread these positive energies to all directions with the help of the wind. The wind carries the prayers and blessings from the flags to benefit all living beings. The flags are also believed to protect the people and places where they are hung from evil spirits and negative forces.
Many Indian bikers who visit Leh and Ladakh buy these prayer flags as souvenirs or gifts. They also attach them to their bikes as a sign of respect and gratitude to the local culture and people. They believe that the prayer flags will bring them good luck and safety on their journey. They also hope that the prayer flags will help them achieve their goals and dreams.
Some bikers also keep these prayer flags as a reminder of their conquest and achievement. Riding to Leh and Ladakh is not an easy task. It requires courage, skill, endurance, and passion. The bikers face many challenges and risks on the way, such as rough roads, high altitudes, harsh weather, landslides, and accidents. The prayer flags are a symbol of their triumph over these obstacles and their love for adventure.