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Month-long Buddhist pilgrimage concludes in Ladakh

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Ladakh, July 2 (ANI): A grand reception was organised by Buddhist monks of Hemis Monastery in Ladakh to welcome the pilgrims on a month-long pilgrimage on foot from Manali in Himachal Pradesh. Initiated and headed by the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, the pilgrimage walk commenced from Manali on May 23 and concluded at Hemis Monastery on Wednesday.

The 12th Gyalwang Drukpa is the spiritual head of the Drukpa lineage. He is revered as the reincarnation of Drogon Tsangpa Gyare (founder of the Drukpa lineage).

Buddhist monks undertook the padyatra (journey on foot) spanning 400 km across the rugged Himalayan mountains from Manali to Ladakh.

Tshering Phunstok, a monk from Darjeeling, who undertook the journey with a hundred others, said that he enjoyed every bit of the padyatra.

"It was difficult but we enjoyed it. Sometimes we had to climb up to 5000 metres above the sea level and sometimes 3000 metres. We had a hard time, but we enjoyed very much with the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa," said Phunstok.

The journey was also aimed at helping the population of Himalayan region through humanitarian projects and initiatives in the area of education, medical help, preservation of heritage and environment.

During the month-long journey, the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, imparted knowledge to people about the importance of environment, health and modern education.

"His Holiness educated people about the harmful effects of polythene. At the same time, he also taught them the importance of modern education," said Tshering Norbu, a Buddhist scholar.

The group crossed five high Himalayan passes, the highest of which, Shikunla and Singgela, both are at an altitude of about 5,200 metres above the sea level.

On its way, the group also visited holy sites of Chakrasamvara, Avalokiteshvara, Guru Padmasambhava and one of the sites of the great Drukpa master, Naropa.