It is 6.30 am and the boy is on his way back from the daily morning puja in the big prayer hall. He was sitting there with around 70 other monks of the yellow hat sect and recited sutras to the rhythm of bells, trompeds & drums. It was cold and dark when he entered the temple, but now the morning sun greets the new day. Pilgrims have been walking the 3 km circuit around the monastery all night and will not stop to turn the hundreds of praying wheels the entire day.
This happens every day at Labrang Monastry in Xiahe (China), home to the largest number of yellow hat monks outside of Tibet. Once it was home to more than 4,000 monks, but around 1958 political issues peaked. Labrang Monatry, one of the six great monasteries of the Geluk school, was closed for twelve years. Fortunately today, the monk in the photo is one of more than 1,000 who live, study and pray at this fascinating and peaceful place.