Over the past few days I've been looking through some of my (very) old travel photos, many of which were taken before before the days of digital cameras (or, at least before I could afford to buy one!)
The image above is of an old Buddhist ani (nun) and was taken at the Drepung Monastery, about 13 years ago while I was travelling in Tibet. Drepung lies at the foot of Mount Gephel, not far from the Tibetan capital Lhasa. It was founded back in the early 1400s and was once the largest monastery in Tibet with between 7,000 and 10,000 monks, but nowadays the Chinese authorities permit only about 300 monks to live there.
Drepung was also one of the three most important Gelugpa university monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism, until China invaded and began their illegal occupation of Tibet in 1950. Fortunately two thriving Gelugpa campuses were subsequently established in Southern India, which are now home to around 5,000 Gelugpa monks in exile. The Gelugpa school is also referred to as the yellow hat sect, and its official head is the Ganden Tripa, appointed by the Dalai Lama
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