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Also known as Pelkhor Choede, Gyantse's monastery is unusual in that it actually houses three differents sects of the Lamaism; Sakyapa (Red Hats), Kadampa and Gelugpa (Yellow Hats). It is also famed for its rare nine-tiered 15th century Kumbum Stupa, home to hundreds of chapels containing thousands of paintings, murals and statues of Buddhas and its artwork, with hints of Indian, Nepalese and Chinese influences. The circular form of the Kumbum is situated within a square, signifying the Buddhist universe. As devotees progress towards the top, they are thought to be following a path of enlightenment.

From the top of the Kumbum you can enjoy fine vistas over the rooftops of the old town and across to the famous Gyantse Dzong atop the Zongshan Hill. The old fortress has been recognised as a cultural site because it was from here locals fiercely defended the city from British invasion in 1904, using only primitive weapons.

You can also tour the Tsulaklakang Monastery, the main part of the structure. The large assembly hall is supported by 48 columns upon which hang colourful thangkas. Whilst the walls are adorned with ancient murals and artwork depicting Tibetan beliefs, there are also a number of large bronze Buddha statues. Visitors are permitted to take photos in certain parts of the monastery for a small fee.

 

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