China, Tibet. Ganden Monastery is about an hour's drive from Lhasa. It nestles photogenic on a mountain slope at an altitude of 4,300 metres. Around the monastery a narrow pilgrim path takes you to breathtaking vantage points over the Kyi-Chu valley. A day trip from Lhasa to Ganden Monastery is even doubly worthwhile: Besides the monastery and pilgrim path worth seeing you get a good altitude training. Because Ganden is with 4.300 meters more than 600 meters higher than Lhasa. In my following article you can read what you can see during your visit to Ganden Monastery and where you can take the most beautiful photos.
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A Visit to Ganden Monastery
In 1409 Tsongkhapa founded the monastery Ganden. It is one of the three large monasteries of the Gelug School in Tibetan Buddhism.
Before the Chinese Cultural Revolution, about 7,500 monks lived here. But during the Cultural Revolution the monastery was almost completely destroyed. Since the 1980s many temples, stupas and the burial chapel of the monastery founder Tsongkampo have been restored. The number of monks allowed to live here, however, is now limited by the government to 417 people.
A special feature of the Ganden monastery is that the head of the monastery is not the Dalai Lama. Instead, the head of the monastery is appointed. This usually happens between the ages of 60 and 70. The dark red walls of the tomb chapel of Tsongkampo are decorated with drawings of the 108 heads appointed so far. In the middle is the tomb stupa. In it the mummified Tsongkampo is supposed to sit in meditation position. The interior also contains food, incense, books and other offerings. The burial chapel was restored after the Cultural Revolution and is today an impressive place with a strong atmosphere. The nearby prayer hall has also been restored. On the floor above the prayer hall you can admire among other things 1,000 statues of the Tsongkampo in showcases. These are also reconstructions.
At the New Chapel there is a large statue of Siddharta Buddha to the right of the entrance. Opposite the entrance further statues are built into an artificial cave landscape. The scene resembles a stage set in a theatre. In addition, snow-covered mountains are depicted on which small plastic animals are draped. To the right of the entrance you can see the statue of the Lord of Compassion. He has the 1,000 eyes and hands so that he can help even more people. Despite his enlightenment, the Lord of Compassion did not enter Nirvana. Because from there he could not have helped other people any more.
The Pilgrim Path around the Ganden Monastery
The monastery is picturesquely situated at the top of the mountain Drog Riboche. Already from the car park you have a great view of the monastery complex.
Around the monastery a narrow pilgrim's path leads to breathtaking vantage points over the Kyi-Chu valley. Small bushes line the path. Most of them are decorated with book pages, prayer cards or coloured tufts of wool. White sky ladders painted on rock should also help believers to get closer to enlightenment. Here you will find many worthwhile photo motifs.
As we walked the Kora around the monastery of Ganden, we saw several vultures circling in the air. A nearby place for air burials attracts the birds. If you have a good telephoto lens with you, there might be good opportunities for a picture of a vulture. ergeben.
The place for the air burials, however, is not on the regular pilgrim path. You should also leave your camera packed in your backpack at such places.
Photographing in Ganden Monastery
Photography is only permitted in outdoor areas. For a donation of 20 Yuan you can also take photos in the printing hall. Here are the shelves full of wooden artwork and printed book pages. You can also watch monks duplicating pages in the traditional way. Next to the printing house there is a small chapel. Here you can also take pictures for another 20 yuan.
By the way: You can perfectly combine your day trip from Lhasa to Ganden Monastery with a trip to Drak Yerpa Rock Monastery. kombinieren.
Long tested and much loved: my three companions on photo tours: the lightweight carbon tripod CT-5C I from Rollei*, the cleaning kit from Rollei*and my indestructible camera backpack, the camera backpack, the Flipside from Lowepro*.
Book Recommendations for Tibet
You want to know where the journey goes? Then I can recommend these books* about Tibet.
You can order these books at Amazon with a click on the pictures. If you buy a product via one of these affiliate links, I get a small commission and you help me to keep filling Fernweh-Motive with interesting articles. The product will not be more expensive for you.
Have you ever been to Ganden Monastery near Lhasa yourself? How did you like it? Do you have any questions about my article or suggestions? If so, please write me a comment!
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