The monks begin by consecrating the site of the sand mandala with approximately 30 minutes of chants, music, and mantra recitation. This event is visually and acoustically striking and draws large audiences and media attention.
Immediately following the Open Ceremony, the monks start drawing the line design for the mandala. This is very exacting work that takes about three hours to complete.
Throughout its creation, the monks pour millions of grains of sand from traditional metal funnels called chakpur. The finished mandala is approximately five feet by five feet in size, and takes three to five days of work.
The monks conclude their creation of the mandala with a consecration ceremony. In some cities, several thousand guests have attended the closing ceremony. It is very colorful and of great interest to the media.
During the closing ceremony, the monks dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the colored sands to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists. When requested, half of the sand is distributed to the audience as blessings for personal health and healing.
The remaining sand is carried in a procession by the monks, accompanied by guests, to a flowing body of water, where it is ceremoniously poured to disperse the healing energies of the mandala throughout the world.