Buddhists and tourists from around the world gathered at the Labrang Monastery in Xiahe County, in northwest China's Gansu Province, to witness the unveiling of a giant painting of Buddha. Getty Images photographer Kevin Frayer captured the colourful ritual as it took place on 3 March, 2015.

The annual spectacle known as "the basking of Buddha" or the "sunbathing Buddha festival", is part of the Monlam prayer festival, a magnet for pilgrims from the Tibetan-populated areas of China.

Monks carried the silk painting known as a thangka, measuring 20 metres wide and over 30 metres long, up a hill overlooking the monastery. They unveiled it before dawn, hoping the first rays of sunlight would illuminate the sacred painting.

Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
Tibetan Buddhist monks of the Gelug, or Yellow Hat order, carry a large thangka of BuddhaKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
Monks unveil a large thangka, a painting of Buddha on silk, at the monasteryKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
A huge thangka showing Buddha is unveiled during Monlam or the Great Prayer rituals at the Labrang MonasteryKevin Frayer/Getty Images

The Labrang Monastery is one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug (or Yellow Hat) school of Tibetan Buddhism and one of the largest outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Monlam, the most important prayer event for many Tibetans, was banned during the Cultural Revolution in China but has been celebrated again in recent years.

Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
A pilgrim bows her head in prayer as monks take part in a special prayer at the Labrang MonasteryKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
Hundreds of Tibetan Buddhist monks take part in a special prayer during MonlamKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
Snow falls as Buddhist monks take part in a procession at the monasteryKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
Tibetan Buddhist monks of the Gelug, or Yellow Hat order, some wearing masks, are covered in snow as they take part in a processionKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
A monk, looks on as horsemen take part in a processionKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
Tibetan Buddhists wearing traditional clothing wait to take part in a processionKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
Tibetan Buddhist nuns and worshippers watch a procession during MonlamKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
Two young Buddhist monks walk past men in traditional clothing before a processionKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
Two novice monks play football outside their hostel at the Labrang MonasteryKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
A woman prays as Tibetan Buddhists and others gather to see a thangka unveiled at the Labrang MonasteryKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
Tibetan Buddhists gather to see the unveiling of a large thangka at the Labrang MonasteryKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
Tibetan Buddhists prostrate themselves as they perform Kora, a type of pilgrimage and meditative practiceKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
A Tibetan Buddhist man walks on a hillside overlooking the Labrang MonasteryKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Tibetan Buddhist monks Labrang Monastery
Tibetan Buddhist monks pray on a rooftop during Monlam, or the Great Prayer rituals, at the Labrang MonasteryKevin Frayer/Getty Images