Kumbum Monastery, Huangzhong, Qinghai Province, China:
Today dozens of monks struggled up steep steps carrying the long rolled Thangka. Accompanied by blowing silver horns and clanging cymbals, hundreds of pilgrims struggled to touch the giant embroidery. Once unrolled and it’s yellow silk protective cover removed, a magnificent Buddha covered the entire hillside.
Once a year this beautiful embroidery Buddha is given sunshine at the Kumbum Monastery of the Tibetan Buddhism yellow hat sect, and is the centerpiece for an elaborate devotional service. With incense burning, pilgrims throw scarves, paper prayers and money onto the Thangka, which is then rolled back up hill by dozens of shouting young monks.
As the Qinghai Photography Festival winds down this weekend colleague Nancy Brown and I had the option of visiting a Tibetan cultural museum, or break away to follow up a tip we received several days ago chatting with a Chinese student practicing English on us. I’m glad we skipped the museum.