A typical kora in Pemasiri ends with the head lama reading out prayers.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III 
Aperture: F/18, Shutter Speed: 1/250, ISO: 500

In Photos | A Journey With Tibetan Monks To Pemasiri, Arunachal Pradesh

A sacred Buddhist site, the Pemasiri mountains are alive with the throb of ancient life.

Yang Sang Chu in the Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh is revered territory for Tibetan Buddhists. According to religious texts, this is a celestial realm believed to be a land of endless bliss, as prophesied by the Padmasambhava, a central figure of Tibetan Buddhism.

The lore goes that Yang Sang Chu’s misty mountains represent the lower half of the body of a goddess in repose; the other half lies in Tibet. Every year, the faithful make a sacred pilgrimage to the different holy sites along these mountains—Devakotta, Titapori, Pemasiri or Riu Tala. The devotees come here to complete a circumambulation of these spots; among Buddhists, known as kora.

Last October, I accompanied the monks of Tuting monastery in Arunachal Pradesh on a two week-long pilgrimage to Pemasiri mountains. I encountered perilous tree root crevasses, stinging nettles and poisonous snakes in the forests. As I came to understand, these mountains were a vibrant wilderness alive with the throb of ancient life. A true paradise is how I like to think of it.

  • Mayank Soni is a travel and documentary photographer with a keen interest in tribal culture. He loves places one can explore on foot. When not actually in the field, he annoys librarians with his ever-increasing list of research books.

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