Meidaizhao Lamasery is located around 80 km east of Baotou city. It was built in 1575 for Alatanhan, a leader of the Mongol tribe in ancient China, also the 17th generation of Genghis Khan. It was one of the most important centers for spreading Tibetan Buddhism in Inner Mongolia.
Meidaizhao Lamasery is more of a walled city than a lamasery. The architecture is a mixture of Central China style with Tibetan and Mongolian features. It covers an area of 4,000 square meters, and contains temples, royal palaces, enclosing walls and city gates.
The layout of Meidaizhao Lamasery serves for three main purposes: temple of worshipping Buddha, royal residence, and protection from invasion. The Lamasery is surrounded by long and thick walls with a total length of 681 meters. Watchtowers are built at four corners of the walls. This design will help protect the city from outside invasion.
Meidaizhao Lamasery is of great importance for the study of Mongolian history of religion, architecture and arts in the Ming Dynasty. Inside the temples, the walls are covered with beautiful frescos portraying buddhist stories, Mongolians in traditional costumes, Sakyamuni's images, Mongolian nobility worshipping Buddhism, as well as images of Alatanhan and his wife. Royal palaces are located deep in the city. Inside the wooden tower of Empress Hall stored the ashes of Alatanhan's wife.
Every year on May 13 of lunar calendar, there is a traditional Meidaizhao Temple Fair. The fair lasts about a week's time. People from all quarters gather here, not only for worshipping or sightseeing, but also for trading and selling local products and agricutural produce.
I updated this article on December 19, 2012
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