Photographer Josē Jeuland travelled to Tibet Autonomous Region in western Sichuan to experience the local culture and the way of life there. He shares with travel360.com some of his photos and stories from the trip.
Yarchen Gar in Baiyu County is an isolated village that his home to about 20,000 monks and nuns. I was in one of the temples when this villager stopped in his tracks and asked me to capture a portrait of him. Around us, people were walking in a clockwise fashion, turning the huge golden prayer wheels that can be seen behind the man.
This kind lady invited me to stay with her family. Here, she’s breastfeeding her child in the kitchen as the sunlight gently hits her face . The kitchen is the main room of the house because it is the only areas in the house with a fireplace. The family sleeps here too.
The walls of this house are made of cow or yak dung while the floors are made up of compressed soil. There is also no running water but the family that lives here makes do with very basic furnishing.
The family that I stayed with took me to Namtso Lake, which is also known as the Heavenly Lake. This is where we chanced upon this yak. The family told me that yaks are not afraid of humans and will often wander into people’s houses.
Prayer flags are seen fluttering in the wind by the Namtso Lake. Each colour of the prayer flag is said to represent different elements and when they flutter, the flags give out positive spiritual vibes akin to silent prayers.
The great Namtso Lake affords visitors with a beautiful views of snow-covered mountains. It is often referred to as Heavenly Lake because of its high altitude, which is described as close to the heavens.
These little houses can be seen on the hills of Yarchen Gar. They have mostly just the basic necessities and are usually inhabited by monks.
This is in the humble abode of the parents of the monk I met and spent eight days with. The house was in the middle of a rocky terrain and reaching it was no easy feat. We had to drive for the first half of the journey and then continued our journey on foot. Like most families here, they live with very little luxuries but are more than generous with their hospitality.
Yaks graze by this beautiful meadow on the hills of Yarchen Gar. Although the weather is cold and windy, the sky maintains a stunning deep blue hue.
Massive vultures surround and fight over human remains in a Tibetan ceremony know as a sky burial. The deceased are laid at the top of the mountains, where the vultures feed on them. While this may seem alarming to many people, the Tibetans believe that this is an act of generosity by the deceased to the earth that gave them life. Vultures are seen as dakinis (tantric priestesses), who carry the souls of the dead to the skies as they await their reincarnation.
Read our travel stories, find inspiration and book your flights at www.airasia.com.