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Buddha Unfolding Festival

Buddha Unfolding Festival is celebrated in Tashilhunpo Monastery from the 14th to the 16th day of the 5th Tibetan month. Usually the giant Thangka of Amitayus will be displayed on the first day of the event, as Amitayus means in the memory of the past. And Thangka of Sakyamuni will be displayed on the second day, which means current life's happiness; while Thangka of Maitreya will be displayed on the third day, which indicates the best wishes for the future. This event only lasts three days. And they Thangkas are displayed every morning from 10am to 12pm, and then they will be put back till the next year. Actually other monasteries have this event, too. Like in Drepung Monastery, there is Buddha unfolding event every year during the Shoton Festival, which even has a large scale. However, the platform of displaying the Thangkas in Tashilhunpo is unique among the monastaries in Tibet, and not only the distinctive mark for Tashilhunpo Monastery.

The platform was built in 1468 by the first Lama to commemorate Sakyamuni. It was built by laying rocks and stones. Since the huge platform stands on the hillside of Nima Mountain in Shigatse, with its majestic and superb looks, it could be seen miles away. The whole platform is still as solid as it was just built even after 500 years. Every time when the more than one thousand square meters Thangka is displayed here, pious pigrims prostrate around the Buddha to show their respect. At that moment, even you are not a pilgrim, you would be stunned. And because of this event, the Buddha unfolding festival has become a tourism festival. Not only the local monks and pilgrims gather here, but also the Tibetans from Nagqu, Lhasa, Shannan, even Qinghai, Gansu, and Sichuan. Thousands of tents are stationed around the monastery, which presents a splendid sight.

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