On Saturday I went with my mom's neighbor, Dorothy, to UTEP to see the kalachakra mandala that Losang Samten has spent the last month creating with sand--grain by grain. We were able to hear the monk speak and get a close up look at the mandala. A woman read from a book explaining what certain parts of the mandala mean. The sand is layered, so a spot may look white, but have pink, red, and blue sand underneath and each layer has a meaning. The mandala was very impressive.
When the mandala is completed the final step is to dismantle it. This teaches the impermanence of life. The University has asked Losang Samten to keep the mandala. Usually the sand is put into the river or handed out to people as holy, blessed sand. The monk said he would be handing out blessed sand from somewhere else as part of the closing ceremony on Sunday. I was lazy and didn't go to that.
Here is a time lapse video courtesy of the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Cultural Center of El Paso: