Friday, August 5, 2011

Pilgrims of Tibet: Portraits of Unwavering Faith and Purpose

Tibet is one of those rare places where religion, faith and everyday life are one.  Religion is woven into the tapestry of Tibetan life, and everywhere you go, you meet pilgrims.  From all over Tibet they come with prayer wheels in hand, to flock to holy sites like the Jokang Temple in Lhasa, the Samye Monastery in the Yarlung River Valley,  the Tashilunpho complex in Shigatse, and Mount Kailash in western Tibet.

Mid-day Prayers
Barkhor Square in front of the Jokang Temple in Lhasa

Before paying their respects within the temple, pilgrims will undertake a "kora" - the clockwise circumambulation - of the site.  Particularly devout pilgrims will not just walk, but add a prostration between their steps.  A kora (without prostrations) around the Jokang Temple can be accomplished within an hour, but the 30 mile kora around Mount Kailash, at heights of 16,000 ft - 18,500 ft will take Tibetan pilgrims a very long day (the rest of us sea level dwellers will need three days).

One cannot help but admire these pilgrims who are so resolute and resilient.  The clarity of their purpose and the depth of their belief are etched on their faces.

Barkhor Square in front of the Jokang Temple in Lhasa

Yarlung River en route to Samye Monastery

Time for Talk
Yarlung River en route to Samye Monastery

Time to Rest
en route to Yungbulakang

All Smiles
Yarlung River en route to Samye Monastery
Sitting together for a photograph before saying our goodbyes...
Returning from Samye Monastery

All of the images posted here are available for purchase as 8x10 and 5x7 fine art prints and A2 size greeting cards (all printed on archival water color paper) at  Be sure to send me a message if there is something you'd like that you don't see listed, or if you'd like a custom size or item, as I truly enjoy creating one of a kind items that hold special meaning. Thanks!!

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