What Religious Souvenirs to Buy in Tibet

The main religion in Tibet has been Buddhism since its outspread in the 8th century AD, so Buddhism has a long history in Tibet. Religious customs have become a part of Tibetan everyday life, from chanting mantras and prostrating in a local square to walking the ‘kora’ around a temple or sacred site. Religious objects are essential for Tibetans, so religious souvenirs are always recommended for tourists to buy.

Religious Souvenirs in Tibet

Among all religious objects, the best known religious souvenirs which tourists can carry back to their home from Tibet are the Tibetan Incense sticks, the Tibetan Thangka, the Tibetan prayer wheels, Tibetan Buddhas, the prayer flags, Tibetan mask, Khata(Hada) and Dhama.

1. Tibetan Incense Sticks

Tibetan Incense sticks are made completely from herbs like nutmeg, saffron, clove and other natural flowers and herbs. Tibetan people use them to worship the Buddha, drive out the evil spirit, and hold religious activities. Put it in wardrobe, the Tibetan incense can not only keep the clothing fragrant but also protect them from insects.

2. Tibetan Thangka

Thangka is a Tibetan painting with scrolls, mainly taking Buddha as the figure as well as some flowers and birds, mountains and rivers, even medicine and astronomy are included. The common ones are painted by Tibetan artists, which you could be easily seen on the streets. But some rare ones weaving in silk or with embroideries are cultural relics more than goods, which are not easy to find. An exquisite Thangka often takes a long time, several months or over half a year, to complete. 

3. Tibetan prayer wheels

There are a variety of prayer wheels made from metal, wood, stone, leather or coarse cotton in Tibet. It is a device for spreading spiritual blessings and well being in Tibet. Tibetans rotate their prayer wheels clockwise while murmuring the Buddhism sutra to pray for spiritual peace and happiness. 

4. Tibetan Buddha Statue

You can get lying Buddha, seated Buddha, meditating Buddha and lot of other postures. They are made from many different materials like metals like gold and silver even. 

5. Prayer Flag

Prayer flags have been around for thousands of years. A prayer flag is a colorful rectangular cloth. Originated in Tibet, it is often seen floating above river crossings or atop mountain passes protecting those traveling through.

6. Tibetan Mask

Mask, called “Ba” in Tibetan, is mainly used for various folk performances. It has a direct relationship with people’s daily life, labor and entertainment all over Tibet. Tibetan mask is a kind of handicraft derived from religious art, which is divided into three parts: religious mask, Tibetan opera mask and folk singing and dancing mask. Due to regional differences and different uses, Tibetan masks show the characteristics of colorful, strong contrast and different forms.

7. Khata 

As ceremonial silk fabric in Tibet, Khata or Khatag is a necessary part of social activities. Hada is used to show respect and congratulate, mostly in white and blue. In addition, there are five-colored Hadas, the colors are blue, white, yellow, green and red. Blue means blue sky, white is white cloud, green is rivers and streams, red is spatial dharma protector and yellow symbolizes the earth. Five-colored Hada is dedicated to Bodhisattva and close relatives for making colored arrows, is the most precious gift. Hada is the most commonly used gift for Tibetans of any class. It is similar to the ritual silk of Han nationality in the ancient time. The areas where Tibetan culture is popular includes Nepal, Bhutan, Buryat and other places.