Dharamshala: - Emerging reports coming out Tibet say Chinese authorities have imposed a heavy restriction in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet during the first day of the six day Shoton, or 'Yogurt,' Festival that took place on Monday.
"Chinese authorities have stepped up heavy restrictions on the religious activities of Tibetans in the capital Lhasa as they observe the festival at the Drepung Monastery," Tezin, a Tibetan living in India told The Tibet Post International (TPI).
The latest images of the event received by TPI once again reveal the real situation in Lhasa, a place tightly controlled and repressed by the Chinese government.
A video clip from Tibet also shows many armed Chinese forces were placed in separate groups at Hillside rorest and huge rocks behind the monastery.
'Thousands of Tibetans, including monks and nuns gathered at Drepung monastery outside the Lhasa city for the first day of the annual religious festival which was held under Chinese government close watch with constant military interference,' he said.
"On 25 August, heavy armed forces stationed at Drepung monastery and police all around the monastery, like in previous years," the source added.
'Huge numbers of armed Chinese security forces were also placed around a structure on a hillside behind the monastery as they have turned the most area into something that looks like a war zone,' the sources further said.
Shoton Festival originates from the 11th century. It had been exclusively a religious observance until the 17th century when the Great 5th Dalai Lama introduced the Tibetan opera into the celebration, making it as a nationwide gala.
Being one of the largest festivals on the roof of the world, it serves as a showcase to rooted tradition, appealing culture and great piety of the Tibetan people.
The festival mainly consists of three parts - giant Buddha display, Tibetan opera show and horsemanship & Yak race show. In combination they represent the best of Tibetan religion, culture and tradition.
First day of the festival, about 600 square meter Thangka displaying Buddha opened up as the morning as thousands gathered for the annual ceremony. The giant Thangka roll up again and carry back to the monasteries after nearly six hours of display.