Around 3:40 pm, 13 October, we leave the earthly paradise – Pudacuo ( or Potatso 普达措 ), and drive up to the road back to the downtown of Shangri-la and then get to our today’s final stop – Ganden Sumtseling Monastery (Songzanlin Monastery 噶丹·松赞林寺 in Chinese).
Located only 3 km north of the downtown, Ganden Sumtseling Monastery is not just a monastery, but a large monastic complex that includes several lamaseries, halls, colleges, libraries, separate living quarters for monks and for the high lamas.
“Ganden Sumtseling” literally means ” The monastery is set up in order to fully understand the Teachings of the Buddha and let them to benefit the mass and have the rebirth in Buddhism”. The name was given by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1679 when the monastery was built at the patronage of Kangxi Emperor (r.1662-1722) in Qing Dynasty. It was completed in 1681. Part of the group buildings of Ganden Sumtseling Monastery were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in 1960s and in 1980s it was rebuilt.
Now Ganden Sumtseling Monastery is the largest Buddhist monastery in Yunnan Province, oft-lauded as ” Little Potala Palace”. It belongs to the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism of the Gelukpa order of the Dalai Lama.
Mr. Chen suggests we don’t enter the huge monastic complex given the time left for the remainder of the day and try to locate a photo spot instead to take pictures of the grandeur holy place and view the monastery in sunset glow.
Parking our vehicle in the parking lot attached to the Tourist Service Center of Ganden Sumtseling Monastery Scenic Area, we enter the clean and spacious service center. We are requested to purchase an entrance ticket 115 yuan (including the shuttle service from the center to the monastery). Getting on the shuttle bus, Mr. Chen asks the bus driver to drop us off at the lake area instead of the final stop of the monastery. We’ve learned that the lake in front of the monastery offers good photo spots to shoot the monastery from the boardwalk winding over the lake.
After 15-minute bus ride, we disembark the shuttle bus and see a swamp lake south of the shiny and massive group buildings throught the left-side trees and bushes. Very soon we spot a zigzag road down to the lake below. When we come up to the lake, we see a well-maintained boardwalk running over the marsh lake south of the monastic architechures.
While we are walking down to the lake from the roadside mound, the legant and huge buildings of the monastery are clearly presented before us.
A signboard on a handrail of the boardwalk has a brief introduction to the lake both in Chinese and English. The lake is known as Lamuyangcuo Lake (拉姆央措湖). “Lamuyangcuo”, literally “A Lake for the Soul of Heaven Fairy”, is a holy place to dwell the soul of the Godess of Bandanlama.
Lamuyangcuo Lake is just in front of Ganden Sumtseling Monastery. It is a seasonal and plateau wetland lake fed by springs and surface water. There are some waterfowl on the lake like black-necked cranes, yellow duks and more.
Walking on the timber walkway, you can easliy find a good spot to view the magnificent group builidngs of the monastery. The main structure built in Tibetan style has a gold-covered copper roof similar to the one at the Potala Monastery in Lhasa.
The buildings of the spectacular Ganden Sumtseling Monastery have stunnng inverted reflections in the water of the holy lake.
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery looks like a castle, a walled complex with group buildings including living quarters for monks and high lamas.
On the right side of Ganden Sumtseling Monastery are Milk River Wetland and Conggulong Village.
On our right side, we see two barley racks on the high mound
This is a piece of happy land where human beings, animals, and nature live in harmony. Two Tibetan youths posed standing on the boardwalk with the backdrop of the monastery.
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery is in sunset glow, a tranquil place to dwell your soul.
Be sure to be back on the roadside to wait for the last shuttle bus at 7:00 pm and return to the service center. Any questions, just drop a line.
Drive from Hanzhong to Ya’an
Ya’an Night View
Most Beautiful Sky Road in China
Moxi Old Town ( Tips, Photos & Map)
Hailuogou Glacier Camp No.04 (Tips,Photos & Map)
Hailuogou Glacier Camp No.03 (Tips, Photos & Map)
Kangding (Tips, Photos & Map)
Drive from Kangding to Xinduqiao
Drive from Xinduqiao to Danba
Jiarong Tibetan Blockhouses
Jiarong Tibetan Ancient Watchtowers
Drive from Xinduqiao to Yajiang
Drive from Yajiang to Litang
Drive from Litang to Daocheng
Drive from Litang to Batang
Drive from Batang to Mangkang
Drive from Mangkang to Deqin
Kawagarbo Viewed from Feilaisi
Drive from Deqin to Shangri-la (Zhongdian)
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery Dwells Your Soul
Pudacuo is an earthly paradise
Drive from Shangri-la to Daocheng
Drive from Daocheng to Yading
Yading Brings You Inner Peace
Hassle-free Chengdu & Sichuan Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for Chengdu and Sichuan guided tours:
Top 10 Attractions in Chengdu
Best Time to Visit Chengdu
Railway stations in Chengdu
How to visit Wuhou Shrine
How to visit Du Fu Thatched Cottage
How to visit Jinsha Site Museum
How to Visit Tomb of Wangjian
How to Visit Wangjiang Tower Park
How to Visit Qingyang Taoist Temple
How to Visit Jinli Street
How to visit Kuan Alley and Zhai Alley
How to visit Qintai Road, Qintai Street Chengdu
How to visit Shaoling Road Bar Street
How to Visit Jiuyanqiao Bar Street
The Old Teahouse in Pengzhen Town, Chengdu
Bipenggou is a fairyland in Autumn
When is the best time to visit Jiuzhaigou?
Best Places to Visit Autumn Leaves in Sichuan
Top 10 Places to Visit in Sichuan
Ruoergai Grassland, my first trip to Ruoergai Grassland