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March 17, 2015

Despite considerable hardship, Tibet's unique traditions and vibrant culture are very much alive. Photographer Kit Chan captured moments from everyday life and festivals in this visual essay.

Published on Mar 17, 2015


Litang Horse Festival

Each summer the nomadic Khampas gather in what is now Sichuan, China, with their bright ribbon- and rug-bedecked horses. The results of equestrian events like horseback acrobatics and racing determine social hierarchies among the groups.



Path to enlightenment

A thangka is a composite artwork of painting or embroidery, and silk or leather. Here, a monk's nine stages of development, from distraction to concentration, are symbolized in part by monkeys and elephants.



Cheerleading, Khampa-style

Tibetans recite their mantras while spinning their prayer wheels, which send their wishes floating to the sky. Throughout the Horse Festival, attendees direct their prayers toward the competition, asking for the success of their favorite riders.



Ganden Thubchen Choekhorling

Nestled among the hills of Litang, this monastery is the beating heart of Tibetan religious life in the region. When they're not studying mantras, young monks, like the boy here, mix with locals in the meadows.



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