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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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user feature, Tibet, monks, Buddhism,

A Peek into the Life of a Tibetan Monk with @gdax

For a peek into the daily life of Tibetan monk དགེ་འདུན་དབང་ཕྱུག (Gedun Wangchuk), follow @gdax on Instagram.

དགེ་འདུན་དབང་ཕྱུག, or Gedun Wangchuk, (@gdax) is a Buddhist monk living in Tibet, where he uses Instagram to share scenes from his daily life atop one of the highest locations on earth. The region boasts an average elevation of 4,900 meters (16,000 feet) and is home to some of the world’s tallest mountains, including Mount Everest at the Nepal border to the southwest.

"Mankind shares and lives on planet Earth as one family with each continent having its own different nationalities, religions, faith, customs, unique culture and languages. But aside from such differences, we all have the same common desire for happiness," Gedun says. "That’s why Instagram, as a window to this global family, is a joy."

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InstaMeet Roundup | 13

Are you participating in an InstaMeet soon? We want to hear about it! Tell us more here.

Since the earliest days of Instagram, people have been meeting up offline and forming real-life friendships. In only the past few weeks, Instagrammers from all around the world—places as diverse as Brazil, Germany, China, Russia and South Africa—have come together to connect and inspire one another. In Japan, a coordinated InstaMeet took place across three different cities (#sakurasaku_mwjp), and dozens of people traveled 100km for a meet-up at Sun Temple in Ahmedabad, India (#igaroadtrip).

To see photos and videos of people meeting up all across the globe, browse the hashtags from these InstaMeets:

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Coachella, coachella2014, current events, music, photo feature,

Instagrammers Capture Coachella

For more photos and videos from the festival, follow @coachella and @coachellaastronaut on Instagram and explore Coachella’s location pages: Coachella, Main Stage and Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival. You can also browse the #coachella hashtag.

Last weekend and again next weekend, music fans head to Indio, California, for the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (@coachella). There, against a backdrop of desert sunsets and an iconic ferris wheel, up-and-coming performers and established acts alike will take the stage. To see Coachella from the perspective of the performers, follow these artists on Instagram:

This year’s festival will also feature the Coachella Astronaut (@coachellaastronaut), a roaming art installation created for Coachella by Poetic Kinetics (@poetickinetics), a group of artists based in Los Angeles.

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weekend hashtag project, WHPbokehinmotion, video, video on instagram, bokeh,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPbokehinmotion

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes & hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

This weekend’s tag was #WHPbokehinmotion, which asked participants to take a creative video using bokeh: the blurred part of an image that’s out of focus. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

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User Feature, Who I follow,

#WhoIFollow: Japan’s @koshi_another_side

In the #WhoIFollow series, we ask Instagrammers to share their favorite people to follow. For more photos and videos from Koshi and his favorites, follow @koshi_another_side, @chikuwa91 and @laylah on Instagram.

For Japanese Instagrammer Koshi Nishijima (@koshi_another_side), the natural landscapes around his hometown of Fukuoka serve as his inspiration for photography. “My favorite place to shoot is Aso Kujū National Park. You can find valleys, wetlands, volcanos and grasslands with grazing animals, as well as a long strip of road that runs straight through all of this nature. It’s often quite foggy there and even icy in the winter, which brings out the mood,” he explains. He enjoys exploring nature with friends he’s met through Instagram, trying out different ideas to create surreal scenes. “I don’t shoot just to share pretty images. What I want to share is the moment and the ambiance of the time I spend with great people in my favorite places to shoot,” he says.

Koshi also experiments with his iPhone camera. “If the focus and exposure is just right, you can get very clear images and even create bokeh.” He then edits his photos based on his impression of the moment.

Looking for more natural scenes from Japan? Follow some of Koshi’s favorite Instagrammers:

  • @chikuwa91: “His work is so unique and always gives me a pleasant surprise. We go shooting together a lot, but it feels like he’s capturing things in a completely different demension.”
  • @laylah: “Her photos are just plain cool. I don’t know any other girl who takes such edgy photos.”

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The Week on Instagram | 126

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Southeast Asia Celebrates Songkran, the Traditional New Year

For more photos and videos from Songkran Celebrations, browse the #Songkran hashtag.

Starting this Sunday, communities in Southeast Asia celebrate the Southeast Asian New Year, widely known around the world as Songkran (สงกรานต์). For centuries, people in places like Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (also known as Burma) have marked the starting of a new year with this three-day festival.

Rooted in Buddhism, the events held during Songkran vary from country to country. The most common ritual involves large crowds of people taking to the streets to douse one another with water. Splashing water stands as a religious symbol of bringing good fortune to others, but nowadays it is often taken up for pure enjoyment as well as light relief during the region’s hottest month of the year. Instagrammers taking part in the festivities gear up with water guns, goggles, bathing suits and, of course, waterproof smartphone cases to capture the excitement. Other customs include visiting Buddhist shrines to pray, bringing food to monks and cleansing statues of Buddha.

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Khalid Aljabri, Manama, bahrain, user feature,

Capturing the Streets and Walls of Manama, Bahrain, with @k_aljabri

For more photos and videos from Khalid’s life in Bahrain, follow @k_aljabri on Instagram.

"For the past four years, I’ve been documenting #manamasouq—the old market in the heart of Manama—and the rest of Bahrain, searching for the things we forgot or maybe have chosen to ignore,” says Bahrain Instagrammer Khalid Aljabri (@k_aljabri).

Khalid often photographs the graffiti and writing on Manama’s walls. “Once you write or draw anything on a wall it becomes something of great value. The streets are like the society’s archive,” he says. “Whether images of sorrow or joy, wisdom or pure silliness, they are all stories worth sharing.”

Khalid’s favorite place to photograph in Bahrain is the capital city, Manama. “I started wandering in the neighborhood where my late mother grew up, following her and my grandpa’s footsteps and rediscovering the beauty of the city she used to tell me about,” he explains. “I enjoy documenting the little hidden details between its tight streets and alleys because behind every corner there are generations of stories waiting to be discovered. After four years of documenting, I still feel lost in its streets and beauty.”

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Cosmonautics Day, russia, current events,

Celebrating Cosmonautics Day (День Космона́втики) in Russia

For more photos from Cosmonautics Day, explore the Памятник Гагарину (Yuri Gargarin Monument) and аллея Космонавтов (Cosmonauts Alley) location pages.

Every year on April 12, Russia celebrates Cosmonautics Day: a commemorative event to remember the achievements of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961. The 27-year-old circled Earth in the Vostok 1 (Восток-1) spacecraft for one hour and 48 minutes, making the first manned space flight and marking a new chapter in space exploration.

On Saturday, a ceremonial procession in Moscow will visit a number of important commemorative landmarks including Gagarin’s statue, then his grave in the Red Square’s Kremlin Wall Necropolis and through Cosmonauts Alley before concluding in Novodevichy Cemetery.

More recently, the celebration on April 12 has spread to communities worldwide as “Yuri’s Night”—an occasion to inspire public interest in space exploration.

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current events, day of silence, glsen, glsen day of silence, lgbt,

Observing Day of Silence on Instagram

For more from the 19th annual National Day of Silence, browse the #dayofsilence hashtag and visit the GLSEN website.

Friday marked the 19th Annual Day of Silence, a movement in schools and universities to call attention to the issue of LGBT bullying and harassment among youth.

Organized by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the day is marked by teens spending the day in silence as a symbol of the “silencing effect of anti-LGBT bias and behavior.” The organization estimates that hundreds of thousands of LGBT and allied students at more than 8,000 schools participated in the event this year, many wearing shirts, stickers or pins to explain their reason for silence.