Scenes of life in Tibetan areas

Many parts of Tibet, the remote territory governed as an autonomous region of China, are off-limits to most foreigners and foreign journalists.

Reporters from the BBC recently had a rare chance to visit a Tibetan area in western China. Here are some of the photographs from that trip.

Image caption In this area, it is the winter season from late November to early April. The temperature can go as low as minus 20C (minus 4F).
Image caption There are a number of Buddhist monasteries here. Some are located in such close proximity to one another that monks compete to attract followers.
Image caption A monk sweeps the steps to the monastery in preparation for the arrival of visiting followers.
Image caption It was only eight in the morning when this photo was taken, but prayer time had started much earlier.
Image caption Residents slowly circle a small shrine. This ritual starts as early as sunrise and lasts for hours. Prayer usually commences by mid-day.
Image caption A Tibetan woman prostrates herself on the ground before a shrine in deep prayer.
Image caption An old man shows off his prayer beads. He does not speak in observance of the religious Day of Silence.
Image caption A Tibetan nun stands in front of her house. She does not speak on the Day of Silence.
Image caption Young monks deliver buckets of rice, as the elder monks take a break between prayers.
Image caption This giant temple borders two provinces. While it may not be the oldest, its architectural detail is eye-catching.
Image caption Agriculture is an important source of income. Farmers see to it that their livestock are well-fed with hay.
Image caption Children often have to walk for hours to attend school. They defy the cold and icy roads to make it to class.
Image caption Ethnic Tibetans and Han Chinese are taught separately. The classes are conducted in the Tibetan and Mandarin languages.