Tuesday, September 06, 2005

China | Gansu Province | Labrang Monastery #2

That evening I did the Khora yet again. Just around dusk the only others were hardcore pilgrims and monks. Except for the young Chinese woman who had sat next to me on the bus and was now in the room next to me. She was also doing the Khora. She flashed me her 220-watt smile, but I had already determined that she did not speak a word of English so I did not try to pursue a conversation.

Some of the 1172 prayer wheels around the 1.9 mile-long Khora

I stopped again at the Gongtang Stupa for another look at the monastery from its top floor. The original version of this stupa was built in 1805 by the third Gongtangcang, a famous reincarnation and scholar who lived at Labrang at this time. The originally was totally destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Construction of this current version, funded by the government, Tibetan pilgrims, and overseas Chinese Buddhists, began in 1991 and was completed in 1993. The stupa has four floors and is 101 feet high.

View of the stupa from across the Daxia River

Entrance to the Stupa

The top of the Stupa

View of Labrang from the top of the stupa

The Khora around the northern, or backside of the monastery complex

The surprising lush landscape here at 9600 feet on the rim of the Tibetan plateau, at least compared with the desert-like conditions prevailing at Lanzhou, some 4600 feet lower.

View across Labrang from the Khora along the northern side

View across Labrang from the Khora along the northern side