Burial Place of Pachen Lama

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Jan 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
Shigatse Shandong Hotel

Flag of China  , Tibet,
Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 3 - Everest to Shigatse, Tashilhunpo Monastary
Woke up around 7:30am to go and look at Everest. Thankfully only a little bit of cloud hiding the top so there was at least something to see. Also without the wind blowing not quite as cold as the night before to be standing around outdoors.

Had decided the night before not to visit EBC a second time and instead head back to Shigatse so that we could visit the Tashilhunpo Monastary today. This was also to give the couple I was with the chance to possibly head to Ganden Monastary on the following day after returning to Lhasa.

Today lungs didnt feel any worse but still had a weasing sound on occasions. Also still fighting off the cold I seem to have picked up.

On the way out stopped 4Km down the road at Rongphu Monastary. Decided to only takes photos from outside and not go in since it had just been rebuilt 20 years ago. Drove back out the valley and up to the pass once again. This time though took a reasonable number of photos of the roadside views I had. Very long windy road to the top of the pass. At the pass had a quick stop but found that even more clouds were out today to hide the mountains lying on the horizon.

From here a bumpy windy road back to the main road. All in all another long day of driving. Once again had to stop at a number of checkpoints to have our papers and/or passports checked once again. Pretty much didnt do much while heading back to Shigatse. Once again mountain views, tibetian villages and this time a fair number of yak heards around the place.

During the drive from everest the guide had a headache and as a result we didnt really make any stops along the way with the exception of one stop for lunch. Here Di Ki took some meds with lunch in the hope of getting rid of the headache. 

Thankfully her head was feeling better by the time we got to Shigatse and we ended up heading straight to the Tashilhupo Monastary. Once again photos could only be taken if you paid. Here it was a crazy Y75 to Y150 for photos and Y1500 for video.

This monastery is the seat of the Pachen Lama which is currently up to the 11th reincarnation. Whereas in the past the monks search the country for the reincarnation, this time they were given a list of monks by Beijing to choose from after the 10th death. The 10th also seems to have died from some heart condition at the age of 45 while travelling from Beijing back to TIbet. Should also be note that the latest lama resides in Beijing rather than Tibet.

In esssence the monastery we visited holds the tombs of all the past lamas with the exception of those that were destroyed during the cultural revolution. In this case the few remains from the tombs that were destroyed were placed into a single new tomb that was created by the 10th Pachen lama.

Another interesting fact about Tibetian buddhism is that in some sects the monks are alowed to marry and have children. These monks tend to be the higher level practitioners of the religion and the marriage is a part of a tantric meditation.

Lots of local people around due to it being April in the Tibetian calendar. Could see a number of these doing one of the clockwise circuits around the monastery as well as a few of them relaxing in the courtyards of the monastary enjoying their barley beer. In addition to the locals there was also a hell of a lot of chinese tourist groups making there way through the place.

First place we visited was the only chapel without a tomb. Here instead we found a 27m tall buddha which I understood as being the tallest indoor buddha around. Once again had to line up due to all the people before it was possible to walk around the buddha in an clockwise direction.

From here continued onto the 10th lamas tomb which was huge and contained an image of the lama in the open window at the top of the tomb. This tomb also had lots of nice paintings in it as well as the things that hang from the ceiling.
While pushing our way through the tour groups we headed to the final tomb that had been rebuilt for all of the destroyed tombs. Next we wandered out and sat around for a bit to kill some time. While doing this came across another monk that was playing with his mobile phone which I have seen on a number of occasions so far.

After a while headed back in since it appeared we were lucky enough to have timed our visit with the evening assembly of monks. Watch the monks appear outside the assembly hall with their yellow hats and yellow robes. Appears that they need to loose their shoes and place on their yellow robes and hats before entering the hall. Also had some chanting going on before they entered. Most interesting thing I noted at this time was the fact that almost all of them were so young. Seemed to be very few older monks.

Ended up entering the assembly hall and visiting a chapel inside as the monks chanted away. Would have loved to have taken some photos but the price was extortion and my battery was getting to low to sneak a photo. Besides to many monks looking around and just not worth the price of getting caught.

After leaving the assembly hall headed out of the monastary back to the car and then to a hotel. Via the guide managed to get a single room for Y60 and double for Y120 since the tour guides company regularly brought people here. Besides which the place was large and nearly empty and while nice, a bit rundown. Most important thing to note here is that the price shown on their rates board for a room was Y500. Thats a big difference from what we paid.

Had a nice double bed and ensuite and could see myself taking a day off here, vegging out and doing nothing for a day which is something that might be worth considering. Though I cant see myself being to get a similar room for a similar price.

In the hotel didnt do much but sort photos and start the Tibet blog. After a while though headed out to the same Tashi resturant I visited last time I was in town and had another nice curry.

Something of note about Shigatse. It's the second biggest town in Tibet but at least the part of town I was in was a real mess since the streets were all ripped up for road works and there was dirt and rubbish everywhere. In addition to this, the first time we came through town we drove through a part of town that had lots of new apartment blocks either built or being built but the place looked completely empty. This part of toen was definately your typical chinese style of town. At a guess I would say they are building it in preparation for a chinese immigration into the area.

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