Tibetans Unveil Giant Buddha Painting at Monlam Prayer Festival (Photos)

The Labrang Monastery in Gansu Province celebrated “the basking of Buddha” as part of the Monlam festival earlier this month.

Each year, monks bring out an enormous silk painting or thangka that is 65 feet wide, and about 100 feet long. They carry it up the hill that looks over the monastery, and unveil it at dawn when the sun’s first rays light up the sacred painting of Buddha.

The festival dates back to 1409, but was banned by the Chinese Communist Party during the Cultural Revolution.

Buddhists are allowed to observe the ritual these days, but there is a heavy police presence because Chinese authorities have placed severe restrictions on the Tibetan way of life and customs.

As well as pilgrims, many tourists come to see the spectacle, so it is a good source of revenue for the local government.

 

And on the other side of the camera…

 

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