LHASA, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, received a record number of 1.4 million tourists during this year's Shoton Festival that ended on Sunday.
The week-long event, deemed the second most important Tibetan holiday, saw a 16 percent increase in visitors from home and abroad compared with the previous year, said Nyima Cering, who heads the festival's organization office.
The visitors brought 378 million yuan (about 61.5 million U.S. dollars) in tourism revenue, up 32 percent year-on-year, he said.
An additional 136,000 people, about 50,000 more than last year, joined the "sunning of the Buddha" ceremony in the 600-year-old Drepung Monastery. Gathering on the outskirts of Lhasa at the largest monastery for Tibetan Buddhism's Gelug Sect, the crowd prayed to a giant portrait of Sakyamuni.
An exhibition on Thangkas, or Tibetan painting scrolls, a photography show, performances of traditional Tibetan opera, and a cooking competition of Tibetan food were also held during the festival.
The event was originally a religious occasion, when local people would offer yogurt to monks who had finished meditation retreats. It has been held since the 17th century.