Tibetan Buddhist monk treks more than 2,000 kms on prostrating pilgrimage


Kalsang Tenzin has completed journeys on foot three times, pulling a cart behind him.

Tibetan Buddhist monk treks more than 2,000 kms on prostrating pilgrimage

Kalsang Tenzin, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, pulls a cart with food and bedding during his pilgrimage to Dharamsala, India.

Periodically prostrating himself, a Tibetan Buddhist monk pulling a cart with food and bedding has completed a pilgrimage of more than 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) over eight months to Dharamsala, India.

Kalsang Tenzin, 61, said he started the journey on Oct. 29, 2022, at Bodh Gaya, a village in the northwestern Indian state of Bihar where Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment beneath a Bodhi tree in the 6th century.

It was the third time since 2008 that Tenzin had completed a long pilgrimage.

“I began this prostrating journey again for world peace, for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and for the well-being of all sentient beings,” the monk said from Dharamsala, the Indian hillside city where the Tibetan government-in-exile and the Dalai Lama reside, which he reached on June 30.


For centuries, devout Tibetan Buddhists have prostrated themselves on pilgrimages and at holy places.

The monk, who began walking at 7 a.m. and stopped at 9 p.m. daily, covered about eight kilometers each day in good weather, but only half that distance when traveling along steep roads or in bad weather.

“While on the plains it wasn’t too hard for me to pull the cart but when approaching the hills [in Dharamsala in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh], it became challenging and difficult,” Tenzin said. 

“In the past eight months on this journey, Tibetans, Indians and onlookers showered me with great support,” he said. 

During his first prostrating journey in 2008, Tenzin walked from Lhuchu, or Luqu in Chinese, county in Tibet’s traditional Amdo region, now part of the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the south of Gansu province, and reached Bodh Gaya in 2014. 

He also walked about 483 kilometers (300 miles) from Bodh Gaya to Nepal in 2017 on his second journey.

Tenzin also has completed long prostrating pilgrimages to holy sites inside Tibet to pray for the long life of the Dalai Lama, the 88-year spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists.  

The monk is scheduled to have an audience with the Dalai Lama on July 5.

Translated by Tenzin Dickyi for RFA Tibetan. Edited by Roseanne Gerin and Malcolm Foster

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