Dukar, also known as Sitatapatra in Sanskrit is a female deity with a white body, a slightly wrathful expression and an eye in the palm of each hand. She can be represented with a thousand arms or just four, holding a white parasol and a Dharma wheel, which symbolises the teachings of the Buddha. Her healing energy protects one from harm and danger, and brings health and stability.

Dolma, or Tara in Sanskrit is a female bodhisattva, who can be green or white in colour, has a peaceful expression and an eye in the palm of each hand. According to legend, she arose from the tears of Chenrezig, or Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, as he wept at the suffering of sentient beings.

She is known as a protector and saviour and is widely prayed to.  

April is a month of prayer in the village of Ritoma. Monks from the local monastery visit each of the 220 families in the village and recite the Dukar Dolma prayers to ward off obstacles, bring health for humans and animals in the coming year and prosperity to the household. 

 In the old days, when families were less affluent, prayers were simple. Monks would sometimes arrive in a house with no household members to receive them, as all the family members were out in the pasture with their animals. They would recite the necessary prayers and leave. Nowadays, families are better off and preparations are lavish, often followed by a feast where friends and relatives from the village are invited. 

Preparations are carefully done with each family trying to outdo another. The host sets up the ritual offerings on the altar, then prepares lunch for the monks and the feast for village guests to follow. Children run excitedly among the stacks of cold drinks, cookies and fruits. Friends would soon be showing up and the house would bustle with activity. 

Culture is still vibrant and alive in this small village on the Tibetan Plateau. It is a continuous source of inspiration for Norlha and one of meaning, security and identity for its employees.