Monlam, or the great prayer festival, is the most important prayer event for many Tibetans. It was banned during the Cultural Revolution in China but is now celebrated in many areas.
Considered the most important event for Tibetan Buddhists, the Monlam great prayer festival starts three days after the lunar new year in western China’s ethnic Tibetan region and is held for almost two weeks. During Monlam, millions of pilgrims travel to monasteries to pray for good fortune in the new year and make offerings to their late relatives.
Top: Monks from Labrang monastery in Xiahe county. Above: A girl throws symbolic papers for good fortune on a hill overlooking Labrang monastery during Monlam
Monks and worshippers attend the prayer festival at Labrang monastery
The monks unfurl the thangka depicting Buddha to display to worshippers and other visitors during the festival
Pilgrims and worshippers carry prayer beads and prayer wheels
The monks walk in a procession around the monastery
Pilgrims walk on a circuit of the monastery
A hilltop view overlooking Labrang monastery
The light of a giant television screen, showing a ceremony featuring sculptures made from yak butter, illuminates the scene
Monks chant prayers during the ceremony
Link : The Monlam great prayer festival in Tibet – a photo essay