May 23, 2016 -- The 11th Panchen Lama (2nd L), Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, touches the heads of Buddhism followers to give blessings during the Saga Dawa Festival in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, May 21, 2016. Buddha's birthday, April 15 according to Tibetan calendar, falls on May 21 this year and it's an important day of the festival. (Xinhua/Chogo)
LHASA, May 23, 2016 -- The 11th Panchen Lama, a spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, blessed thousands of pilgrims in Lhasa on Saturday by conducting a traditional "head-touching" ritual.
The 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, performed the ritual at his residence in downtown Lhasa.
Saturday, the 15th day of the fourth month in the Tibetan calendar, is the traditional Tibetan holiday Saga Dawa, or the anniversary marking Buddha's birth.
To celebrate the Saga Dawa, large crowds of devout Buddhists, holding prayer wheels, circumambulated the Potala Palace and Porgor Street, two major pilgrim routes in Lhasa's city center.