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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tibet, Tashilumpo Monastery

 

 

TOEBC D1 012Our day starts out as usual but with one exception.

After having breakfast we leave the hotel without our tour guide.

 

 

 

A short drive and we are dropped off at Tashilumpo Monastery with about an hour to tour around on our own. We are told our tour guide has gone off to get our permits to visit Mt Everest.

 

 

 

TOEBC D1 001Entrance To Tashilumpo

 

 

After paying the now common entrance fee and going through security, we begin a steady climb into the courtyard area of Tashilumpo which was built in 1447.

 

TOEBC D1 008Tashilumpo Monastery is the seat of the Panchen Lamas, the lineage of religious officials next to the Dalai Lama.

Interestingly, the current Panchen Lama is a twenty something year old appointed by the Chinese.

 

 

Located at about 12,000 feet, some of the walking around is a bit of a challenge especially having to climb an occasional steep set of stairs. However, in my opinion this becomes the best monastery that we have visited, so far.

 

TOEBC D1 023Two things I find amazing here.

One, walking into a large open room and seeing a group of monks sitting on a table counting and stacking piles and piles of yuans.

 

 

 

Secondly, seeing about a 90 foot tall Buddha statue that I am told is made from about 600 pounds of gold. To take a photography of this statue is officially about US$50, I sneak one for free. Feeling a bit guilty, I make a donation to the chanting monks nearby.

 

 

TOEBC D1 014 A 90 Foot Buddha

 

 

Bill and I become exhausted from the walking around and wait in a courtyard area as the rest of our group sets off for more exploration.

 

TOEBC D1 026Being on our own we have such a good time exploring that we exceed our anointed one hour time.

For a change our driver and tour guide are waiting for us instead of us waiting for them to move on.

 

 

A few fruit and snacks from the street vendors at the entrance of the monastery and we are again ready to hit the road.

 

 

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