Thousands of metres above sea level, high on the Tibetan plateau, hundreds of Tibetan Buddhist devotees in brilliant hues of pink and blue gathered for the Gedong festival.

Lamas young and old mixed with festival-goers wearing traditional garb to watch the religious Cham dances at the Ganden Sumtseling monastery in Shangri-La.

A young girl in traditional Tibetan clothes watches the Cham dance during the Gedong festival.

The Gedong Festival is the most important festival in the region and is held at the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, also known as Songzanlin, and Guihuasi monastery in late November of each year of the Tibetan calendar. The Cham Dance is the climax, as performers put on masks and clothes that portray deities and ghosts.

Prayer flags are seen in front of the Ganden Sumtsenling Monastery in Shangri-La.

Masked, costumed monks portrayed a host of ghosts and deities from the pantheon of Tibetan Buddhist mythology, to the sounds of lamas playing traditional instruments -- crashing cymbals, drums and deep, vibrating ceremonial horns.

Lamas watch the Cham dance during the Gedong festival at the Ganden Sumtsenling Monastery in Shangri-La, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of southwest China's Yunnan Province

Tsering Choetso, a 52-year-old farmer, said the true meaning of the festival was hard to explain in a language other than Tibetan, but described it as a chance to "pay our respects to our deities as well as our departed ancestors".

A lama stands on the roof of the Ganden Sumtsenling Monastery in Shangri-La.


This picture taken at the Ganden Sumtsenling Monastery in Shangri-La, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of southwest China's Yunnan Province, shows lamas playing traditional instruments during the Gedong festival.
Lamas chat in the sun at the Ganden Sumtsenling Monastery in Shangri-La. (AFP)


Lamas watch the Cham dance during the Gedong festival at the Ganden Sumtsenling Monastery in Shangri-La.

(Featured image: Children in traditional Tibetan clothes follow the Cham dance during the Gedong festival)

Text and photos are from AFP.