Religion: The Last Sermon

For days, streams of Buddhist pilgrims braving high winds and sub-zero temperatures had made their way along some of the world's tallest mountains in central Kashmir. Most came on foot, some by yak, the more affluent by treacherous day-long Jeep or bus rides. Their destination: Leh, a remote stronghold of the Tibetan culture that had been selected by the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled God-King, for a rare spiritual event.

As the week for the ceremony approached, the town became an open-air monastery. Lamas in robes of red and ocher rubbed shoulders with laymen, zealously spinning the prayer wheels that would magnify...

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