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Monks receiving morning alms at dawn in Luang Prabang, the former capital of the Kingdom of Laos.

As early as 6 AM, hundreds of Buddhist monks and novices leave their wats and pour into the streets of the historic temple district to collect their morning alms. The colorful procession only lasts for an hour. By 7 AM, when all the alms bowls are filled, the monks disappear as quickly as they appeared.

According to Wikitravel, local merchants have used the eagerness of tourists to participate in a local tradition as a means of making easy money, and sometimes sell unsuitable, stale and even unsafe food. This has resulted in monks falling ill after having consumed the offerings, and resistance to continuing the tradition. However, the government has made it clear that the monks have to continue the tourist pageant or risk being replaced with lay people clothed in saffron robes in order to keep up appearances and thereby keep the tourist dollars rolling in.

Sources:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travelblogs/1330/47502/Morning+Alms+in+Luang+Prabang?destId=356927
http://wikitravel.org/en/Luang_Prabang

Cropped, increased sharpness & saturation.

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Additional Photos by Erdem Kutukoglu (Suppiluliuma) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 260 W: 105 N: 596] (3879)
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