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Home >> Tibet >> Shigatse >> Gyantse


Gyantse, Tibet Travel China tour Lhasa trip
Gyantse, Tibet tour China Travel Lhasa trip
Gyantse, Tibet tour China Travel Lhasa trip
Gyantse, Tibet tour

Gyantse (3950m) in the Nyang Chu valley 254km south-west of Lhasa, is one of the least Chinese influenced towns in Tibet and is worth a visit for this reason alone. The town's principal attractions are the Gyantse Kumbum, a magnificent tiered structure that has only one ruined and remote contemporary (at Jonang, 60km north east of Lhastse) in the Buddhist world, Pelkor Chode Monastery and the Gyantse Dzong, It is easy to spend a couple of days in Gyantse. If there was a settlement in Gyantse prior to the 14th century, there are no conclusive records of its existence. But between the 14th and 15th centuries the town emerged as the center of a fielfdom with powerful connections with the Sakyapa order. By 1440 Gyantse' s most impressive architectural achievements the Kumbum and the Dzong _had been completed. pelkor Chode Monastery also dates from this period. The monastery compound in the far north of town, which houses both Pelkor Chode Monastery and the Gyantse Kumbu, once contained 15 Monasteries. Little remains of them today. They were a particularly interesting collection, however, in that they brought together three different orders of Tibetan Buddhism in the one compound a rare instance of multidenominational tolerance. Nine of the monasteries were Gelugpa, three Sakyapa and three belonged to the Bupa, an obscure order whose head monastery was Zhalu near Shigatse. Gyantse's historical importance declined from the end of the 15th century, though it continued to be a major centre for the trade of wood and wool between India and Tibet. Its position at the cross-roads of trade routes leading south to Bhutan, west to Shigatse and north east to Lhasa turned Gyantse into the third largest town in Tibet.

1. Pelkor Chode Monastery
Founded in 1418, Pelkor Chode was once a multidenominational complex of monasteries. Today much of the sprawling courtyard, enclosed by walls that cling to the hills backing on to the monastery, is bare and the remaining structures are attended by Geluga monks. The best way to get an idea of the original extent of Pelkor Chode is to view it from the Gyantse Dzong. Pelkor Chode Monastery is a dark, gloomy place and if you want a good look at the various murals and Thangkas it is a good idea to bring a torch The entrance is flanked by statues of the Four Guardian Kings instead of the usual painting. Keep an eye out for the jewel-vomiting mongoose. Just by the entrance on the left is a particularly spooky protector chapel. The main chapel is to the rear of the assembly hall. There is an inner route around the chapel which is lined with murals. Inside, the central image is of Skyamuni, who is flanked by the Buddha of the past and future. Other bodhisattvas line the walls.

2. Gyantse Kumbum
Commissioned by the early Gyantse princes in 1440, the chorten rises over four symmetrical floors and is surmounted by a gold dome. The dome rises like a crown over four sets of eyes that gaze serenely out in the cardinal directional of the compass. There are excellent views of the Kumbum from the hills behind the monastery.

Shigatse Travel Attractions
Gyantse Fort
Mt. Everest
New Palace of Panchen
Palkhor Monastery
Rongbuk Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Shalu Monastery
Tashilhunpo Monastery
Tsurphu Monastery
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