In my last post, I have written two of top five tourist attractions of an Everest Base Camp trekking tour, Lake Yamdrotso and Everest Base Camp itself. Today I am going to talk about another three.
3. Tashilhunpo Monastery
In the classic 8-day Lhasa Gyantse Shigatse Mt. Everest Group Tour, travelers will go to visit Tashilhunpo Monastery after coming back from Everest Base Camp. As the biggest monastery in Shigatse prefecture, Tashilhunpo Monastery means fortune gathered monastery in the Tibetan language. Comparable with Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace, Tashilhunpo Monastery is also the spiritual center of Shigatse. Meanwhile, it is regarded as one of the top four Gelugpa Monasteries in Tibet Autonomous Region (Another three are Ganden Monastery, Sera Monastery, and Drepung Monastery, which are all located in Lhasa).
A. The highlight of Tashilunpo Monastery is the world’s largest bronze statue of Maitreya Buddha. Besides, you can see many cultural relics, such as the precious murals, Pagoda for worshiping the successive Panchens, etc.
B. Many Buddhist devotees come to walk around Tashilhunpo Monastery every year. You can join them if time is enough. You will be impressed by their devout pray.
4. Sakya Monastery
Usually, this monstery is not on the itinerary of Tibet group tours. But if you are doing a private tour of Everest Base Camp, you can pay a visit to Sakya Monastery. It’s located in Sakya County, Shigatse Prefecture. It’s known that Tibetan Buddhism divided into five sects, Nyingma, Sakya, Kargyu, Kadam, and Gelug. Sakya Monastery is the main monastery of Sakya Tibetan Buddhism.
Sakya means earth with grey and white color in the Tibetan language. The lamas painted the walls with red, white, and cyan oil, which is colorful if you see from the distance. That’s why Tibetan people call Sakya Buddhism “Colorful Buddhism” as well.
Sakya Monastery is praised to be “the second Dunhuang” due to its grand scale of architecture and the lofty place in Buddhist culture. Zhongqu River separated Sakya Monastery into two parts, the northern one, and the southern one. Up to now, the southern monastery is well-preserved while the northern one is already in ruins.
The highlight of Sakya Monastery is the Buddhist scriptures written on the Pattra leaves, which is the largest in the world.
5. Gyirong County
The border of Nepal and China closed for a long time since the tragic earthquake in Nepal 2015. So, the Nepal Tibet overland tour was not available as well. The situation changed on August 29th. 2017, when the Gyirong Port reopened for international travelers. So, many Tibet tour companies start to sell Kathmandu Gyirong Lhasa Overland Group Tour now. En this route, you will pass by the Gyirong County, where is regarded as the last wonderland in Tibet. Gyirong means happy or comfortable village in the Tibetan language. About the name, there is a story in the folk. It is said that when the enlightened monk Padmasambhava was invited to Tibet from India for the spread of Buddhism in the 8th. Century, he lived in the Gyirong County and found that it was very cozy here. The landscape was beautiful and the people were hospitable. So, he gave the name “Gyirong” to this village before he left. It should say that the beginning of the Buddhism propagating in Tibet is from Gyirong County.