A photo-shoot featuring Tibet?s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has been confirmed as the top prize in the Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) competition.

?The overall winner of TPOTY 2007 will have the unique opportunity to spend up to two days photographing His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, the Tibetan settlement in Northern India,? say the UK-based organisers of the competition, which is open to photographers worldwide.

The Bhuddist monk went into exile in 1959 after a failed uprising against Communist Chinese rule in Tibet.

The assignment will enable the photographer to document a ?day-in-the-life-of? photo-essay.

The winner will also bag prizes including an Apple computer.

Open to amateur and professional photographers this year?s TPOTY competition features a New Talent category, designed to ?kick-start? a career in photography.

The contest closes on 3 October.

Full details and entry forms are available at www.tpoty.com

Last week President George Bush was reported to have urged Chinese leaders to invite the Dalai Lama to China, a country whose envoys have, since 2002, been engaged in conciliatory talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama behind closed doors.

Picture: Luke Duggleby’s shot of a Tibetan pilgrim was one of last year’s prize-winning images