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March 2, 2024

Tibetans in Ladakh celebrate New Year

Tibetans living in northern India’s Ladakh region marked the first month of the Tibetan New Year with a mass prostration ritual, in which devotees pray and bow with their foreheads touching the ground.

The event celebrates what Tibetan Buddhists believe was the Buddha’s revealing of miraculous powers on the first 15 days of that month. Many Tibetan Buddhists believe that prayers, meditations and good deeds done during their period give significantly higher benefits. 

Sonam Dorjee, who organized the event, called “Gochak,” said it has been going on for more than 40 years.

“The first month of the Tibetan lunar calendar is a very holy month and therefore our organization started organizing mass prostration for the whole month and not just a few days,” Dorjee said.

“When I was young, I remember the prostration used to take place for only two days – Now, we have people from all age groups,” he said. “The oldest person this year to take part in the prostration is 77 years old and the youngest is 13”.

Another organizer, Rinchen Tsering, told RFA that in recent years many more women have joined the ceremonies, and that the numbers of attendees have also grown. 

Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Edited by Nawar Nemeh. 

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