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Lost Lhasa

Cheeks ballooning, monks force sirenlike blasts from silver trumpets as they clear the way for their king.

Top Tibetan officials marvel at a souvenir from America. A finance secretary peers through a slide viewer, memento of a Tibetan trade delegation’s mission to the United States in 1948.

Mother and child pray on Chagpori’s crest, a pilgrim shrine.

Clouds of dust and incense veil the Dalai Lama’s flight to safety. When China’s troops entered Tibet in 1950, the Living Buddha fled to the Sikkim border. Here in a sedan chair, he rides between rows of stones designed to ward off demons.

In sublime reverence, the Dalai Lama cradles his faith’s holiest relic. When this young man was two years old, mysterious signs revealed him as the incarnation of Tibet’s patron god, Chanrezi, and the previous 13 Dalai Lamas. Here at Dungkhar Monastery he receives a gold-encased bone which Tibetans believe to be that of Gautama Buddha, who founded the religion on which Lamaism is based.

My Life in Forbidden Lhasa by Heinrich Harrer, National Geographic

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