Photographs

Half a century in the Himalayas

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The Mahabodhi Stupa, which was erected behind the huge Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, in the modern Indian state of Bihar. Two thousand five hundred years ago, Buddha Shakyamuni attained enlightenment at this spot, at the age of thirty-five. This is therefore a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists worldwide. It is said that all the Buddhas of the past and future attained or will attain enlightenment at the same spot. 2007
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During a visit to Eastern Tibet by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, a spiritual master who usually lives in India, the whole population of Dzongsar valley offers him a grand reception. Riders, wearing festive costume – baggy trousers in white silk, brown woolen coats and scarlet turbans, brandish standards and banners that float in the wind as they gallop, dispersing the clouds of scented white smoke rising from the many fires of juniper branches that the crowd has lit. August 2004
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Panoramic view of the Himalayan Range (Dorje Lekpa, Langtang Range, Gaurishankar, etc.) seen from Namo Buddha in Nepal. 2004
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A typical landscape in the Golok province of eastern Tibet (presently in the Chinese province of Qinhai), between Marthok and Kyerku. July 2004
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At dawn, the peak of Jitchu Drakey in Bhutan (6,989 metres), also called Tsering Gang, is reflected in Lake Tsophu (4,350 metres), at a two hours’ walk from Jomolhari base camp. May 2007
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The Himalayan snow peak (Langtang Range) emerges from the clouds, suspended in the air above the foothills. Seen from Namo Buddha, Nepal. July 2006
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A Tibetan monastery emerges from the early morning mist, atop the hill of Namo Buddha in Nepal, the sacred place where the Buddha Shakyamuni, in one of his former lives, is said to have given his body to a starving tigress and her cubs. September 2006
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Tibetan Buddhist monks from Dzongsar Monastery in eastern Tibet have gathered to pay homage to the head of the monastery, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, on his return, and to receive his teachings. Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche has not been able to return for a long time. The deep devotion felt by the people of this region for Jamyang Khyentse stems from the fact that this forty-four-year-old lama is the reincarnation of one of the most venerated masters in the whole of Tibet, Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, who died in India in 1959 after fleeing the Chinese invasion. August 2004
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Countryside near Golok Ngapa in eastern Tibet, on the way to Zhujiago. 2003
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Pilgrims pass over a small flood in the course of circumambulating Amnye Machen, Golok province, eastern Tibet. 2003
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Himalayan range. Aerial view, Novembre 18, 2008
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A crow flying in the Himalayas, Nepal. 2006
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In the Tawu region of eastern Tibet, grassy hillsides give way to curious formations of rock and black sand, spattered with white mineral salts. September, 2005.
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A "fulmar glacialis"(arctic Fulmar) flying above the cliffs and black sand beaches of Dyrhólaey, Iceland. April 2014
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Prayer-flags are scattered over an entire hillside near Lhagong Monastery, in Minyak province, Kham, eastern Tibet. The flags are printed from wooden blocks with prayers and sacred images. Once or twice a year, the local people replace them with new ones that have been consecrated by a lama. It is said that wherever the wind that touches them goes, it will carry the beneficial power of the prayers to any beings it meets. 2002
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On the way to Mount Kailash. At the altitude of 4,800 meters, clouds and earth meet together in Bayang, western Tibet. 1998
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A stormy sky in the Yerey Gang region, between Jomda and Sinda, eastern Tibet, at an altitude of 4,000 metres (12,000 feet). September 2005
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Thrangu Rinpoche's monastery, atop the hill of Namo Buddha, Nepal. January 2009
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A group of Tibetan monks on horseback leads the caravan of the great master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, after having crossed the 5000m pass of Gose-La in Kham on their way to Palpung Monastery in eastern Tibet. 1988
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Devotees are respectfully turning around a "mani dobum", a huge wall made of flat stones carved with mantras and sacred scriptures, in the Guemang Monastery, eastern Tibet, Februray 2016
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Tsophhu Lake (4350m), at a two hours walk from the Jomolhari base camp, Bhutan. May 2007
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Two Tibetan monks at the banks of Lake Yilung Lhatso in eastern Tibet. The icy lake of Yilung Lhatso, at 4300 metres (14,000 feet) above see level, not far from Derge was given its name, which means ‘Divine Lake of the Mind’s Delight,’ in memory of a Tibetan princess who passed by this lake on her way to marry one of the ministers of the legendary King Gesar. Her mind was ravished by the place to such an extent that she announced that she would settle there and that the minister could come to marry her there if he wished so. The engraving on the rock reads ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, which is the mantra of the Buddha of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig in Tibetan). August 2004
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Tibetan Buddhist monks play sacred music while the crowd waits to greet Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on his return to Dzongsar Monastery in eastern Tibet. The monastery was entirely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution but has since been partially restored, in stages, by the local population. August 200
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Even in August, the path around the sacred mountains of the Amnye Machen range in the Golok province in eastern Tibet remains covered in snow. With its peak rising 18,000 feet above sea level, the mountain is regarded as one of the holiest in Tibet. Thousands of pilgrims trek around it each year, taking as long as nine days to do so. The mountain’s melted snows become the Yellow River, the great mother waterway of China. 200
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Tibetan monks in front of a row of Stupas. Sakar Temple, eastern Tibet. July 2013.
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Folk dances typical of the Mechö valley are performed in honour of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on his return to Dzongsar Monastery in eastern Tibet. The monastery was entirely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution but has since been partially restored, in stages, by the local population. August 2004
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During a visit to Eastern Tibet by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, a spiritual master who usually lives in India, the whole population of Dzongsar valley offers him a grand reception. Riders, wearing festive costume – baggy trousers in white silk, brown woolen coats and scarlet turbans, brandish standards and banners that float in the wind as they gallop, dispersing the clouds of scented white smoke rising from the many fires of juniper branches that the crowd has lit. August 200
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Morning mists in a Himalayan valley in Nepal. 2006
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Forests of prayer-flags in the province of Myniak in eastern Tibet. As elsewhere in the Himalayas, hills are dotted with clusters of flags that have prayers and sacred images printed on them. It is believed that the breezes that flutter them will carry the beneficial power of these altruistic prayers to all beings. 2013.
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Borobudur, in central Java, Indonesia, is the largest Buddhist monument in the world. Built in the ninth century by the Sailendra dynasty, it was active until around 1100 and was then abandonned in the thick jungle, until being rediscovered in 1815 by Stamford Raffles, vice-governor of Java. It was built according to the Mahayana Buddhist tradition in the shape of a mandala, with ten levels representing the ten stages to enlightenment. It contains 504 life-size buddha statues and seventy-two stupas. Bordobudur has been restored on several occasions and was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1973. June 2008
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Buddhist monks in Nalanda.
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Buddhist monks in Nalanda
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The landscape of western Tibet has a kind of grandiose monotony, in the midst of which, vistas of extraordinary splendour suddenly open up – like that of Mount Kailash, seen from the top of a 15,000 foot pass, with the vast blue expanse of Lake Manasarovar at its feet. Kailash, the Silver Mountain, known to the Tibetans as White Mountain of the Snows’ or Kangkar Tise, is one of the holiest places in the East, revered by Hindus and buddhists alike. Pilgrimages to Mount Kailash have been going on for centuries. As Lama Govinda writes in The Way of the White Clouds, ‘some mountains are just mountains, but others have a personality and thereby the power to influence men. The greatest of all, since the beginning of time, was and remains Mount Kailash.’
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The icy lake of Yilung Lhatso at 4,300 metres above see level (14,000 feet), not far from Derge, was given its name, which means ‘Divine Lake of the Mind’s Delight,’ in memory of a Tibetan princess who passed by this lake on her way to marry one of the ministers of the legendary King Gesar. Her mind was ravished by the place to such an extent that she announced that she would settle there and that the minister could come to marry her there if he wished so. July 2013.
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From the Jango Thang plain, at an altitude of more than 4,000 metres (13,000 feet), a buddhist monk meditates in front of the impressive Jomolhari glacier (7326 metres, 24,037 feet), the highest mountain in Bhutan. It was climbed only once, by Spencer Chapman (UK) and Sherpa Pasang (Nepal) on May 21, 1937, and climbing was prohibited thereafter. May 2007
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Tibetan monks from Shechen Monastery jumping in front of the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal during a European tour of sacred dance. 1997
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A Tibetan monk looks out at the great high plateaus, on his way to the sacred Amnye Machen Mountain in eastern Tibet on a pilgrimage. 2001
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A Tibetan temple in front of the sacred mountain of Jara Latze (Myniak Rabgang) in eastern Tibet. September 2005
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The Makalu (8,463 metres, 27,760 feet) seen during a flight from Kathmandu to Paro (Bhutan). It is located about twenty kilometres away from Mount Everest. 2006
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The Turquoise Lake of Yamdrok (Yamdrok Yutso in Tibetan), at 13,000 feet in central Tibet. This image shows just a small part of this vast lake. It takes eighteen days on horseback to go around it. In the background the peaks of the Neudjin Khangsang. 1985
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Aerial view of the Andes, in the area between Santiago of Chile y Mendoza in Argentina. April 2014
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Gyalgyam Ser-Omai-Tsho, the Golden Milken Lake of Gyalgyam, in front of Dothi Kangkar, around 4700 m of altitude in Eastern Tibet, 6 hours off road drive from Patang valley, near Yushu. This is the place where Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche saw the mandala of the Buddha of Boundless Life, Amitayus, at the surface of the Lake. On the rocks at the back of the lake, half way up, prayers flag mark a place where the great Terton Chogyur Dechen Lingpa also revealed a spiritual treasure. July 2012
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The peak of Jitchu Drakey (6,989 metres), also called Tsering Gang, and the two lakes of Tsophu (4,350 metres) in Bhutan. May 2007
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Morning mist in the valley of Paro in Bhutan. 1986
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The icy lake of Yilung Lhatso at 4,300 metres above see level (14,000 feet), not far from Derge, was given its name, which means ‘Divine Lake of the Mind’s Delight,’ in memory of a Tibetan princess who passed by this lake on her way to marry one of the ministers of the legendary King Gesar. Her mind was ravished by the place to such an extent that she announced that she would settle there and that the minister could come to marry her there if he wished so. The engraving on the rock reads ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, which is the mantra of the Buddha of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig in Tibetan). 2003 (panorama)
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The Himalayan Langtang Range above a sea of clouds in the morning. Seen from Namo Buddha, Nepal. July 2006
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The interaction between the gings and the tsolen that manifests as a wild chase amongst the dancers, who whirl around in all senses and whistle in a piercing fashion, also has different levels of interpretation. Basically, it symbolizes the manifestation of emptiness and compassion. On a different level, the commotion introduces the hallucinations, the lights and the terrifying sounds that one perceives just after death, during the intermediary state of the bardo that precedes rebith. If one recognizes that all these manifestations are only projections of the mind, one becomes free from them. Shechen monastery, Nepal. 29 March, 2015.
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Mount Kailash in the distance, seen from the banks of Lake Manasarovar in western Tibet. At 4,600 metres above sea-level (15,000 feet) and with an area of 320 square kilometres, Lake Manasarovar is one of the highest freshwater lake in the world. 1998
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The Golden Temple of Amritsar, in Punjab, India, the most sacred site for the followers of the Sikh religion. 2014.
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In eastern Tibet the meadows are carpeted with flowers, yellow in July and blue in August. The period of transition provides enchanting scenen, as seen here, at 4,000 metres, in the Dzachuka region. In the distance a pyramid of prayer-flags swaying in the wind. 2004
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The Young Khyentsé Yangsi Rinpoche, recognized as the reincarnation of the great master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991), with the children of the Shechen school, during his first trip to Tibet in 2010, on the occasion of the celebrations of the 100th birthday of his predecessor. Rabjam Rinpoche, abbey of the Shechen monasteries, is standing behind the children. 2010.
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The mountain range of the Anapurna, seen at 200 km from Namo Buddha, Himalaya, Nepal. March 2006.
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Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world, with an elevation of 8,586 m (28,169 ft) and located in Nepal in the Himalayas. Kangchenjunga is also the name of the surrounding section of the Himalayas and means in Tibetan 'The Five Treasures of Snows'(Kang Chen Dzö Nga), as it contains five peaks, four of them over 8,450 m (27,720 ft).Three of the five peaks – main, central, and south – are on the border of North Sikkim in India and Taplejung District of Nepal while the other two are completely in Taplejung District. The Kangchenjunga Himal, or region, includes twelve more peaks over 7,000 m (23,000 ft).Until 1852, Kangchenjunga was assumed to be the highest mountain in the world.. It would be 1856, allowing for further verification of all calculations, before it was officially announced that Kangchenjunga had moved from highest to the third-highest. Druk Air Fligh from Kathmandu to Paro, on October 25, 2012.
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A typical landscape of rolling pasture and moorland in eastern Tibet. In the foreground is a nomad family’s yak-hair tent, suspended from external tent-poles, with a hole in the center to let out the smoke from a fire of dried dung that burns day and night in the hearth. A typical summer camp consists of four or five such tents, inhabited by an extended family group who herd several hundred sheep and yaks. Nomad groups maintain a close connection with a monastery, in this case Shechen; one or two sons from each generation would join the monastery. 1985
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Tyrant Flycatchers on a flowery tree. Sikkim, 2014.
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Mount Everest (8,848m), the highest mountain in the world, on the right Lhotse (8516 m), Nuptse (7,861 m 25.791 ft) and other peaks. Helicopter, April 8, 2015. Nepal
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Gyalgyam Ser-Omai-Tsho, the Golden Milken Lake of Gyalgyam, in front of Dothi Kangkar, around 4700 m of altitude in Eastern Tibet, 6 hours off road drive from Patang valley, near Yushu. This is the place where Kyapje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche saw the mandala of the Buddha of Boundless Life, Amitayus, appear at the surface of the Lake. On the rocks at the back of the lake, half way up, prayers flag mark a place where the great Tertön Chogyur Dechen Lingpa also revealed a spiritual treasure. July 2012
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Rabjam Rinpoche, the abbot of Shechen Monastery in Nepal gives his blessings to a crowd of several thousand pilgrims and devotees who gathered on the occasion of the Shey Festival, which takes place every 12 years in Upper Dolpo in Nepal. October 2012.
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A small lake set like a turquoise in the landscape of western Tibet, not far from Mount Kailash. 1998
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The monumental dzong of Paro, Bhutan, was originally built in 1646, but it had to be restored on several occasions after it was damaged by fire and earthquakes. 2014.
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The peak of Jitchu Drakey in Bhutan (6,989 metres), also called Tsering Gang, is reflected in Lake Tsophu (4,350 metres), at a two hours’ walk from Jomolhari base camp. May 2007.
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Hill covered with prayer flags near Maratika cave, Eastern Nepal. 8 April 2015.
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Dressed in a ‘black hat’ costume, a Buddhist monk performs a sacred dance at the Tibetan monastery of Shechen in Nepal. 2006
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Landscape in the Dzachu province in eastern Tibet (presently known as the Chinese province of Sichuan), near Dzagyal Monastery. July 2004
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Children running on a hilltop in front of the Himalayan range, at Namo Buddha in Nepal. 2005.
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When the Tibetan lama Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche returned to Dzongsar, his monastery in eastern Tibet, he was greeted by horsemen with banners flying, musicians in processions, and thousands of people. As part of the reception ceremony, horsemen circle an immense brazier containing burning fragrant boughs which fill the air with the smoke of incense. August 2004
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The Annapurna seen from Namo Bouddha, Nepal. January 2005
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North face of Mount Kailash, western Tibet, one of the most important sacred mountains of Tibet. Seen from the cave of Gyalwa Gostangpa. 1998
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Dead leaves and reflections in the water. Baekyangsa Temple, in Jeolla South Province, South Korea.
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Equestrian games presented in honor of an incarnated lama, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, on the occasion of his return to visit his monastery of Dzongsar in Tibet. August 2004
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The Great Stupa of Bodhnath in Nepal, near Shechen Monastery, glows with the light of a hundred thousand butter-lamps, offered every Friday for seven weeks during the funeral ceremonies for the great Tibetan master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, who died in September 1991.
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Peaks in the area of Namchak Barwa (7752m), during the flight from Chendgu to Lhasa, 3 March, 2016
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The high valley of the Yangtse, at the level of Denkhok. The Yangtse rises on the high plateaux of eastern Tibet, where it is known as the Drichu. Two celebrated masters of Tibetan Buddhism were born here: to the left (south) of the valley, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910–91), and to the right (north), the 16th Karmapa (1924–82).