The Pilgrims of Tibet

Typical pilgrims with prayer wheels

One of the striking things about Tibet is the religious devotion of many of the people. At every temple and monastery there are throngs of Tibetan pilgrims paying their respects, praying, prostrating, replenishing the butter lamps, and making cash donations. It seems that there are more women pilgrims than men, but you see all ages, but mostly adults.

This first series of photos were taken at the various Buddhist temples and monasteries in Lhasa, Gyantze, and Sakya. Most of the women in this part of Tibet wear a colorful apron. It is common practice for pilgrims to circumnavigate the temple complexes, spinning their prayer wheels, and spinning the many large prayer wheels that are placed around the perimeter of these complexes. Pilgrims often travel long distances to various monasteries to pay their respects and gain merit for their devotion. I saw many groups of pilgrims eating picnic lunches on the grounds of these monasteries.

This woman was actually begging outside the Sera Monastery in Lhasa

3 thoughts on “The Pilgrims of Tibet

  1. It’s when you see devotion such as this that makes you think about your own spiritual devotion. We live in an amazing country with religious freedom that I think is taken for granted sometimes, but for those who do believe, no matter what religions, common ground can always be found in spiritual devotion.

  2. The pilgrimages to Monasteries and Temples in Tibet seem to be a usual occurrence across men and women of all ages and done by these people to pray, pay their respects, and gain merit for their devotion, overall showing their extreme dedication to religion and belief in prayer. I found it interesting that circumnavigating the temples and spinning prayer wheels was a common practice, very different from what other religions consider to be prayer.

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