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china Travel

THE MONASTERY OF KUMBUM

I was alone in the hotel of Y36 (USD 4.60), I had gotten a cold so I decided to sleep more. Today dawned good and warm. I left at lunch time for the Monastery of Kumbum, or “Taer Si” in Chinese, although interesting, I did not need to paid the expensive entrance (USD 10), if I did not enter into the temples of the complex, there was nothing so impressive, I was just interested in taking pictures of the buildings outside. But as it was my first visit to Tibetan temples, in the final balance I liked. Right at the entrance there was a sequence of eight white stupas. Stupa is a type of Buddhist mausoleum in the shape of a tower, having various formats, generally conoidal, as if it were an inverted funnel.

Kumbum in Tibetan means “100,000 buddha images”. It is a complex with nine Tibetan Buddhist temples. There is another Kumbum in the city of Gyantse in Tibet. The one I visited is 25km from Xining, this region belonged to the province of Amdo, which belonged to Tibet. Tibetan Buddhism is also called Lamaism. It was in this region where the current Dalai Lama lived and where Tsongkhapa was born in 1357, the founder of the Sect of Yellow Hats, or “Gelugpa” in Tibetan. Kumbum was founded in 1583 in honor of Tsongkhapa. Before 1958, there were 3,600 monks in Kumbum, currently there are only 400, due to persecutions and restrictions imposed by the Chinese government. Kumbum currently receives many tourists and pilgrims, mainly Tibetans and Mongols.

Back in Xining, I went to the Beishan Si, which means “Temple of the Northern Mountain,” a 1,400-year-old Taoist temple built on the mountainside, I had to climb hundreds of steps of a staircase, the temple was already closed, but I could enjoy the view of the city.