Thursday, September 18, 2014


It's harvest time-

Our first stop was the Pelkhor Chode Monastery in Gyantse, which was founded in 1418.  It's a non-sectarian Buddhist center where Gellugpa, Sakyapa and Butonpa (different sects of Buddhism) co-exist in peace-

The monks were chanting in the assembly hall-

This is the four headed Nampa Namse.  It's the four gani Buddha which if you take refuge in the Buddha, it's guaranteed one good birth-

These are Budhasatva which are equal love and compassion to all living things-

This is Shakyamuni who is flanked by the past and present Buddhas.  Shakyamuni is the present Buddha.  Shakya means "caste of the king from India".

This is the protector Vajarapani who is believed to protect from all kinds of disasters and other bad things-

The Gyantse Kumbum (100,000 images) was commissioned by the Gyantse prince Raptenkunsang who was the mayor of the town in 1427.   It's a 35 meter high chorten with many tiny chapels decorated with paintings.  It is the most important chorten in Tibet.  PIlgrims travel in a clockwise motion from floor to floor, chanting and praying while visiting all of the chapels.  It has 108 altars and a hundred thousand Buddhist images shown in shrines and murals, hence, the name Kumbum.

This small room was just to the left of the main entrance.  Butter lamps are lit by pilgrims to reduce their sin and enlighten their minds-

This is Maitrya, the future Buddha-

This is what it's like walking around the exterior of the stuppa-

A typical Tibetan restaurant - a television, numerous photos of different Dalai Lamas, bright colors and benches with tables-

A grandmother and her grandchild-

A typical Tibetan urban home-

The animals stay in the courtyard of the homes-

There was a shipment of new tractors.  We saw at least 20 leaving this dealership. Technology will certainly change the Tibetan way of agriculture-

No peeing allowed or you will be fined 50 yuan ($8.30) - 100 yuan ($16.66).  Chinglish rocks!

Our next stop was in Shigatse where we visited the Tashi Lhumpo Monastery, founded in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama.  It's 700,000 square meters.  It contains the world's largest gold-guilded bronze future Buddha Maitreya statue-

Narrow, winding, cobblestone streets-

Monk's shoes-

Another great door-

Monks wear the hat when chanting or teaching-

These are the four guidance kings showing the four directions.  It is like a gate keeper for the monastery.

This is a swastika which means never changing and powerful.  It is not negative.  It's drawn during the marriage ceremony so the couple stays together forever-

Inside is the tomb of the 5th to 9th Panchen Lamas.  Their tombs were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) so the 10th Panchen Lama had this tomb made in theirhonour - 

More Chinglish-

Lunch was fried potatoes and steamed pork, however, the funniest was the first waitress who brought two tea bags and set them on the table.  A second waitress came and scrunched them up and put them in the bin beside the table.  I fished them out and put them back on the table.  Another waitress returned and grabbed them and left.  Soon, she returned with a mug containing the tea bags and a jug of hot water!

The restaurant where we ate was packed with Tibetans-

We're bushcamping again tonight.  We're getting closer to Nepal all the time!

Thanks to Nam, our Tibetan guide, for his knowledge in helping me with my blog and to Lonely Planet.

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