A LINE of Buddhist monks walking in the street collecting Alms in Winchester on a Bank Holiday Monday was a first in living memory. Bin Tha Bat – Monks Alms Rounds giving is a daily ritual in Thailand, when monks leave their Wat (temple), early each morning to go round the local area.

The monks from the Cittaviveka Buddhist Monastery near Petersfield, came to Winchester on pastoral outreach at the invitation of members of the local Thai community.

Dressed in their traditional ochre robes, the small procession made its way along Winchester High Street, pausing to accept alms food in their collecting bowls. After each donation of food the Monks chanted a blessing for their gifts and passed on their way.

Describing Bin Tha Bat, the Venerable Ajan Gavesako, from Chithurst Monastery, said: “Monks make the effort to come out of the monastery and try to continue this tradition of alms rounds and collect these offerings of food, which is freely given. We look forward to returning to Hampshire towns in the future.”

The local Thai community were delighted with the informal nature the occasion and await the monk’s next visit.

It was a colourful sight and one with which visitors to Thailand will be familiar.