• The traditional sky burial has been practiced for thousands of years in Tibet.

The traditional sky burial has been practiced for thousands of years in Tibet. (Photo : Reuters)

The Tibet Autonomous Region will be proposing a new law that would serve to ensure the protection of the sky burials - a traditional Tibetan ritual that gathered much controversy after tour guides started leading tours to view the ceremony.

Sky burial is a Tibetan and Mongolian tradition in which the remains of the deceased are skinned and fed to venues, or a group of vultures, and other predatory birds where the bodies would be picked clean by the birds after a few hours of ritual feeding. Sky burials are seen as an act of generosity as well as a ritual that lets the soul rise to the eternal afterlife.

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The Regional People's Congress of Tibet, the local legislature, finalized its yearly session on Friday and submitted a bill to improve the regulation of sky burials. The submission covered several issues like management of the burial sites, environmental protection and the qualifications of the ritual hosts.

"It will be the first time for Tibet to regulate sky burials using legislation, which shows respect and offers protection to the millennium-old tradition," said Samdrup, an official with the standing committee of the Regional People's Congress.

The new law will deal with the complaints that some travel agents expressed disrespect to the Tibetan tradition by organizing tours to the different sky burial sites.

The Tibetan sky burial attracted worldwide attention after a video of the procedure found its way on the relays of the Internet. The video, which is a few minutes long, showed how the ritual happens.

In 2005, the government of Tibet carried out a provisional rule in which it sought for the banning of sightseeing, photographing and video recording of any of the burial sites and its ritualized procedures, as well as publishing of reports and pictures that depict the nature of the ritual.