The Sho Dun Festival, also known as the Yogurt Festival, is one of the largest annual festivals in Lhasa, Tibet. The tradition of the festival began in the 16th century with a banquet given by the lay people for the monks featuring yogurt. On the first day of the festival, The Buddha Thangka will be unfolding at the Drepung Monastery. At dawn, lamas of Drepung Monastery spread out the giant Thangka of Buddha and when the early morning sun shines on the Thangka, lamas begin reading the scripture and praying. Disciples present khatas (traditional ceremonial scarf) to the Thangka and touch the khatas devoutly to their foreheads to show their dedicated devotion. Thousands of disciples across Tibet and other parts of China travel afar to worship the Thangka and pray for their families. During this festival, professional and amateur Tibetan opera troupes gather annually in Norbulingka and perform various Tibetan operas.
Born in Beijing and spent her childhood and teen years in various places including Tibet, Szechuan and Yunnan, Xiao “Freya” Gu is a volunteer, traveler and photographer currently based in New York. Early experience of diverse cultures and exposure to different communities unleashed her fascination for human and nature. She is passionate about observing and connecting the world through travelling and volunteering. She has traveled to all 7 continents and has been a dedicated volunteer since she was 15. She takes her lenses to capture precious moments, when she sees true beauty and dignity in human as well as the wilderness in nature.