Marieke ten Wolde's blog

Documentary photography, and other things interesting enough to bother you with

Photos of the Dalai Lama

with 5 comments

Road side prayer wheel in small temple in Gandze Prefecture (Sichuan)


Farmers house in Gandze prefecture (Sichuan)

Imagine thousands of people gathering in the streets of a remote Tibetan town, the woman beautifully dressed  in their chuba’s (long coats), the old people spinning their prayer wheels and the young man fierce in their leather jackets and sunglasses, on their adorned motor cycles carrying large pictures of the Dalai Lama.

Does it sound like a dream? It is not!

A couple of days ago I found this very nice story on the internet (check it out here) about the installation of a new Tulku (lama) in a monastery near Batang (Gandze prefecture, Sichuan). Thousands of Tibetans took part in the ceremony and many displayed large photos of the Dalai Lama.

In that area photos of the Dalai Lama can be found everywhere in houses, temples and monasteries, but I never saw them openly displayed in the streets. Maybe that is forbidden, I do not know, but I am sure that in Sichuan it is not forbidden to own pictures of the Dalai Lama, like it is in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

It is important to realise that Tibet is more than just the Tibet Autonomous Region (with Lhasa as the capital), the Tibetan area is spread over 5 Chinese provinces: the TAR, a large part of Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu and in the north-western part of Yunnan. The TAR is the most strictly monitored, such large crowds gathered to celebrate their Buddhist belief would never be allowed and photos of the Dalai Lama are strictly forbidden.

In the other Tibetan areas though, the situation is slightly more relaxed and it is quite easy to buy photos of the Dalai Lama. But seeing them shown so openly in such a large display of devotion, is very rare and it must have been a magnificent sight.

I wish I could have been there.

Tent near Yushu (Qinghai)


Written by Marieke ten Wolde

September 14, 2012 at 08:30

5 Responses

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  1. Do you know if there were repercussions in that monastery in Batang?


    September 15, 2012 at 17:02

    • I do not know, I just found this story by coincidence and it looked reliable but I do not think there is any follow up news. Information out of Tibet is sketchy at best! (and often unreliable)

      Marieke ten Wolde

      September 15, 2012 at 17:05

  2. nice pics! Am I suppose to see a DL picture in the last photo?


    September 15, 2012 at 16:48

    • High up above the door. The Dalai Lama pictures are also positioned high, as that would be the most respectful. Almost always the photos of the Dalai Lama are above other photo’s (of other lama’s).

      Marieke ten Wolde

      September 15, 2012 at 16:58

  3. Great amazing issues here. I am very glad to look your post. Thanks so much and i am taking a look forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

    Amedar Consulting Group

    September 15, 2012 at 07:53

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