Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
September 20, 2005
We entered the monastery via the main entrance after purchasing entry tickets, and witnessed an ugly scene between a boorish Chinese official who insisted on driving his land cruiser past the main entrance into the monastery (no vehicles were allowed). A monk had blocked his way, adamant to prevent such a sacrilege against the holy grounds. The latter gave way eventually when another "senior" monk came forward and waved the Chinese official onwards.
The main "attraction" here is the world’s largest gilded copper Maitreya housed in Jamkhang Chenmo. Construction began during World War I and contains tons of gold (said to be donated by the Chinese), copper, and brass encrusted with precious stones. We were in awed of its massive size as we circled the base of it. The monastery, except for a few monks at the chapels, seemed almost deserted. The white-washed walls and narrow, flag-stoned pavements seemed to have withstood the test of time, as we felt as if we had stepped into another time and place. Overlooking the monastery are the slopes of Dolmari. Colourful prayer flags billowed wildly at the peak with ladders painted on the rocks. According to our guide, the "ladders" are said to aid the spirits in its ascension to Heaven.
Opposite the monastery, a Chinese square and makeshift stage presides. At the time of our visit, Tibet was celebrating its 40th year as an autonomous state. Shigatse seemed to begin its celebration ahead of Lhasa with line dancing Tibetan style, speeches from visiting Chinese officials, and food.
Admission Fee: 60RMB
Opening Hours: 8am to 4pm
Go HERE for more details.
From journal Tibet: Almost Heaven or Hell?
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
December 19, 2001
Shigatse is still home, however, to the Panchen Lama, the second most important figure in Tibetan Buddhism. Visitors are welcome at the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the largest in Tibet. I strongly recommend that you spend some hours there. The monastery is a huge complex just a kilometre or so from the centre of the city. It is situated on the slopes of a ridge that can be seen from most places in town.
There are five or six major buildings of interest to visitors but there are scores of others which can be explored. Narrow alleys run throughout the complex and it is exciting to climb some steps then turn a corner and find a marvellously surprising scene before you. It may be a small courtyard with meditating monks, a group of workers happily singing as they carry out repairs, or a panorama of golden spires and brilliant prayer flags. It is a place to expect the unexpected.
Inside the major temples, the statues, the hangings, the hundreds of butter lamps and the devoted locals combine to form memories you will never forget. Everything is so unusual, so exotic and so grand that no one will remain unimpressed. The big picture is incredible but so are the individual details. Look closely at the gold and silver ornaments, at the tapestries, the paintings and the wall and ceiling decorations. This is a photographers paradise.
Entry to the monastery is Y 65 for foreigners. It is money well spent.
From journal On top of the World
December 4, 2001
The monastery is huge. There are more than one hundred buildings clustered together at the base of a long ridge. There are several large shrines to past Panchen Lamas complete with huge statues complete with gold leaf, precious stones and painted murals. Some of the statues and decorations are quite new reflecting the Chinese government's new interest in Tibetan religious buildings. Others apparently escaped the worst of the destruction wrought by the Red Guards in the late 1960s.
The monastery allows monks to openly practice their religion but the Chinese still limit the number of clergy that can live here. It is understood from conversations with local residents that police agents are assigned to monasteries throughout the country to prevent political activities. None of these restrictions impact very much on the visitor. There are still plenty of places to visit and things to see within the monastery – in fact it is a constant feast for the eyes and ears. Don’t miss it.
Foreigners pay Y65 (US$8) for admission and this included a small CD which gives some history and photographs of the monastery. Locals get in for Y1. Don’t be put off by the price-just go. Open 9 – 12, 2 – 5 daily although some parts are closed on Sundays.
From journal The fascinating unknown