“I Visited The World’s Largest Buddhist Settlement To Bring Back These Photos”

In 2015, Italian photographer Marco Grassi traveled more than 18 hours by bus to Larung Gar, a remote town in China’s Sichuan province, and home to the largest Tibetan Buddhist institute in the world.

Marco Grassi is a self-taught landscape and travel photographer. After returning from a one-year trip around New Zealand’s breathtaking scenery, he realized it was time to buy his first camera and start capturing the beauty of this world. Two years later, he achieved his goal after having traveled non-stop around the world.

Below, he shares the story behind the breathtaking shots he brought back from his trip to the largest Buddhist settlement in the world. Read on as he reveals how he captured these photos—from his shooting techniques to post-processing workflow.

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Grassi photographed the closely stacked red buildings in the valley before the Chinese government ordered a series of demolitions at the monastery. This week, Human Rights Watch said that the authorities are also preparing to roll out tighter administrative controls on the settlement.

In June 2016, the government ordered the monastery to reduce the number of monks and nuns to 5,000 by September 2017. According to London-based NGO Free Tibet, 4,828 people had been evicted and 4,725 buildings torn down by May 2017.

The area is no longer accessible to foreigners after demolitions began in summer 2016. Those who wish to enter must pass checkpoints at the site and on the road from the nearby town of Serthar.

“Last October, I traveled to Larung Gar in Tibet, a surreal place with thousands of red houses built one on top of each other. It’s the kind of place where you have to pinch yourself to believe you’re not dreaming. Situated in a remote area of West Sichuan, Larung Gar is home to what is supposed to be the largest Buddhist college in the world with more than 10,000 monks studying and living there. The whole trip took me approximately 18 hours by bus on a bumpy road. And when I finally reached this destination, the view blew me away. I suddenly started wondering several things, like how does it look like to walk through those tiny houses, and how do they even recognize their homes?” – said the photographer. 

“During my stay there, I found out that they have very basic facilities—not even a toilet inside their homes. Walking around the village was like being inside a maze. It was a chaotic and busy place, but it was still very organized, thanks to the routine that this entire community had developed over the years.”

“It’s hard not to be inspired by such an incredible and unusual place. I simply couldn’t believe my own eyes by what I’ve witnessed.”

“I was there in a very particular moment: all the monks and nuns were in a sort of ‘retreat,’ spending the morning and afternoon inside their houses reading books, praying and having time for themselves. They would only exit during the evening to buy what they needed. There were only a few monks and nuns around during the day and their routine was pretty simple: a walk during the morning, lunch in a local place in the village and more prayers in the afternoon.”

Grassi described the village as “chaotic and busy,” but said it was organised according to a logic of its own. “How monks and nuns find their home is still a mystery for me. I asked them when I was there, but all I got was a kind smile and these words: ‘We all know where our home is.’”

Grassi added that one of his friends who was running a hotel in Larung Gar was forced to leave after tourism declined.

Grassi was inspired by his trip and started leading photography workshops to Larung Gar and surrounding Tibetan regions, but he was forced to put them on hold after officials started restricting access.

He expressed sadness at the demolitions. “I honestly think that what’s happened is just unacceptable… Such a place should have been preserved, not destroyed. Such a place should have become a World Heritage Site, not a ghost town.”

In November 2016, six United Nations experts wrote a letter to China expressing “grave concern over the serious repression of the Buddhist Tibetans’ cultural and religious practices and learning in Larung Gar and Yachen Gar [another Tibetan Buddhist complex].”

Chinese officials have said that the complex is being rebuilt to improve safety and public health, citing overcrowding and a risk of fire.

20 Incredible Images of the Olympics’ Athletes That Show What the Human Body Is Capable of

Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been the topic of the internet recently. Even though there was a delay due to Covid, a lot of athletes were in excellent shape to bring golden medals to their countries. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games launched on Friday 23 July with the opening ceremony, although the sporting action actually kicked off a couple of days earlier. It all comes to an end on Sunday 8 August, with the Olympics officially lasting a total of 17 days.

I can’t even imagine the joy one experiences when they have that gold medal around their neck. All the hard work, the sacrifice pay off in the best way possible. And this is not just a personal win, you’re representing a whole country that has its eyes on you in that moment of competition.

What we see on the TV are just the results of a long preparation. If the athlete wins we are proud, if they lose, we are quick to judge. However, today we want to give you the real image of what happens behind the scenes. There are a lot of things these athletes go through in order to achieve that shape and get qualified for the Olympics. Therefore, today we are bringing some of that footage that often goes unseen. Scroll down below to check it out. And let us know what you think of this year’s Olympic games.

1. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz became the first Olympic gold medalist for the Philippines


2. 8 F**king times in Olympics. Take a bow

3. This was Canadian Mark McMorris 11 months ago. Today he is an Olympic Bronze medalist. Amazing.


4. Feet from Dutch Olympic swimming champion Maarten Van der Weijden after swimming 163 km/101 mi in 55 hours to raise money for cancer research


5. After sixteen stages in Tour de France I think my legs look little tired


6. In 2009 J.R. Celski sliced through his entire left quadriceps with his right skate blade at the U.S. Olympic trials


My first major sports injury happened at the 2010 U.S. Short Track Speed Skating Olympic Trials. It was the competition I had to do well at in order to secure a spot on my first Olympic team. The fall happened in one of the last races of the competition, the 500 meters, known for absolute top speed. I fell in the corner and put the front six inches of my blade straight into my quad. I bounced off the pads with the blade still in my leg, looked down, and had to pull it out myself because of the awkward position that I was in.

I completely severed the VMO “teardrop muscle” and luckily barely missed the femoral artery which might’ve been the end. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever gone through, especially because in the moments after, I started realizing that I might not be able to achieve the goal I set out for in the first place. If not for the people around me including my family, friends, and medical staff, I wouldn’t have been able to get back on my feet, especially in time to go to the Olympics and win two medals.

7. The Difference Between Gold and Silver in the 15km mass start Biathlon


8. I Was Born With A Condition: Pectus Excavatum. Which I Know Sounds Like A Harry Potter Spell. My Deformity Began Appearing Around Age 10


My name is Cody Miller. I am not a typical Olympic swimmer. Like most sports the taller you are the better… Most swimmers are incredibly tall, well above 6ft… I’m 5’11 and only weigh 170lbs. More often than not, I’m the smallest person in the pool.

My condition puts stress on my respiratory system. Tests have shown that my sunken sternum and odd placement of other bones have caused a reduced lung capacity… To what extent is unknown. Doctors have said my maximum breathing capacity is likely reduced by 12-20%. Also… I’m diagnosed as asthmatic… Which I learned, from studies run on me in college, has nothing to do with my pectus condition. I live with difficult circumstances as a swimmer. Despite my disadvantages, I’ve dedicated my life to swimming… And I’ve never given up. Like a lot of you, I have struggled with body image problems throughout my life. I struggled with my appearance from a young age. I was a kid who was afraid to take off his shirt in gym class… people thought I was weird. At swim meets, I walked around the pool deck awkwardly while people stared and pointed at me.

I was weird and abnormal… However, I’ve realized this: No one is 100% satisfied with the way they look. Everyone has something about themselves they dislike. And that’s OK! Professional athletes, models… everyone has their own insecurities! I’ve embraced the fact that I have a giant hole in my chest! It’s OK! Monday night. June 27th, 2016 in Omaha Nebraska. USA Swimming Olympic Trials took place at the CenturyLink Center live on NBC, in front of a crowd of 17,500 people, I swam in lane 5 of the Finals of the men’s 100-meter breaststroke.

Only 2 athletes per event qualify for the Olympic Games. 2 swimmers to represent the U.S.A in the 100-meter breaststroke… I’d been dreaming about this moment my entire life. One wrong move and it’s over… The pressure of a lifelong dream… Years and years of training. Thousands and thousands of hours of preparation for a race that lasts 59 seconds… 2 lengths of the pool… 1 start… 1 turn… 1 finish… 1 moment… 1 opportunity… I did it… The feeling is still indescribable… I qualified for the Rio Olympics. My new Olympic teammate and I hug. Seeing the Olympic rings next to my name… I try not to cry… I did… like a baby…

9. Never forget that Australia’s first ever winter olympics gold was won because the guy was coming dead last and everyone in front of him fell over.


10. Team USA Basketball Player Deandre Jordan (6’11”) and Gymnast Ragan Smith (4’6″)


11. An x-ray of a gymnast performing an exercise


12. Leg muscles of the first perfect 10 in olympic history, at age 14. Nadia Comaneci


13. Ex-World Champion Cyclist Janez Brajkovic Leg After A Race


14. The hands of Olympic swimming champion van der Weijden after a 163km swim


15. Hungarian weightlifter Janos Baranyai’s right arm gave, ripping apart ligaments and muscle under the weight

He pushed himself to lift 148 kilograms (326.3 pounds) during the men’s 77kg weightlifting competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

16. Acrobatic Gymnastics Elite And Level 10 Training Camp At Karolyis Olympic Training Site


17. USA Men’s Volleyball Player David Lee 6’8″ and USA Gymnast Simone Biles 4’8″


18. Anyone want to hold my hand


19. Verified on the eve of US nationals


20. When you spend every day on a bike vs. When you retire and ride casually


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