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China Day 12 - Around Xiahe

Added: October 01, 2009

Tags: China monastery mountains photos
On Friday 17 of July it is cloudy again. Our plan is to visit Labrang Monastery and another grasslands area. All are nearby and we will return to Xiahe in the evening. It is good to stay for at least 2 days at one place. Checking in and out is not my favourite ritual, but that's how we usually travel.

Labrang Monastery

The first thing in the morning we went up to hill next to Labrang Monastery to enjoy view of it. We had more than hour before planned tour of Monastery with local Lama happens (all tours in Labrang Monasteries are guided by Lamas).

It was cloudy, so I am not going to show any photos from that time, but Zuzka and I returned to this place afternoon when sun was shining. What a difference!

Labrang Monastery is rather big and we needed to hurry if we wanted to be there on time for guided tour.




Small houses on the slope are meditation rooms.

Courtyard of Medicine College, one of many colleges at Monastery.

Nice paving in the courtyard.




View of Labrang Monastery.

Gongtang Pagoda and river Xia

During our tour we went to local museum. It displays different things, for example the first globe in Tibetan language.

But that's nothing. In the next room were displayed yak butter sculptures. No glass, no restriction to take photos, no payments!

They are result of a competition between local colleges and they are on display for 1 year - for tourists to see. Better fate than such sculptures were given originally - after they are created they are put to sun to melt. To make a point about vanity.

Fortunately widely open door let in enough of light so I did not need to use flash (I have tried and as expected photos were much worse).


Detail to see intricate details. I am not sure how this could be achieved.

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At the end of the tour we went to another temple with about 10 chanting monks. We watched them for several minutes before they finished, packed food from floor and left.

We continued to Assembly Hall. There were hundreds of monks there (we were told 900, but hundreds is more reliable information :-) ). We slowly walked around, looking to side rooms with Buddha sculptures and more sitting monks. Before we finished there we have seen the head of Monastery with yellow hat (giving name to Yellow Hat sect - Gelugpa).

Today was very nice end of our visiting of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and temples.

Sang Ke grasslands

After a lunch in local restaurant (yummy!) we went to Sang Ke grasslands. It starts a few kilometres from Xiahe (opposite direction to Ganja grasslands). It is surrounded by beautiful green mountains - ideal for shooting panoramas (but my are so loooong I cannot show them here. And I do not want to crop them :-) ).

We visited also local nomads (a nomad might not be correct name for them because they are settled there and tourism plays a part in their income.

Finally we could see yaks from proximity, milking and also their calves. We went into their house and also tent (summer house?). Our local guide even shown us what they have in their pots (talk about privacy!).