As the main cultural and architectural attraction in Xiahe Countyin the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gannan, Labrang Monastery used to be the political and religious center for the Tibetans, and the local leaders builtmore than 100 subsidiary temples there. It is said thatLabrang Monastery has the best Tibetan Buddhist School in China, which was listed as a national key cultural monumentby the Chinese governmentin 1982.
Highlights of Labrang Monastery
Labrang Monastery is known for its grand scale, long history, and the numerous monks.Itwas first built in 1710 by a monk, JiaMuyang, whose successors kept enlarging the complex, and it's the biggest Tibetan Buddhist religious center in China outside of Tibetnow. Labrang Monastery is also one of the six major temples of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
Labrang Monastery occupies an area of 822,667square meters (203 acres) with afloor space of 823,000 square meters (203.3 acres). There are 6 scripture halls, 84 Buddha halls, 31 Tibetan style buildings, 30 Buddha palaces, and more than 500 Jinglun rooms in the monastery, and about 1,000 dormitory rooms are for the monks.
Labrang Monastery features exquisite art, decorations and a large collection of about 60,000 books, including Buddhist scriptures, social science books and natural science books. All kinds of books related to Tibetan history, literature, philosophy, linguistics, rhetoric, medicine, astronomy, calendars, arts and crafts, and metallurgy can be found there. Among these books are rare editions, unique copies and out-of-print publications, which is a vast treasury of knowledge.
There are six academies in the Labrang Monastery: Exoteric Buddhism Academy, Esoteric Buddhism Academy I and Buddhism Academy II, Xi Jingang Academy, Shilun Jingang Academy and the Medical Academy. It is the biggest school for Lamaism in the world. Owing to its strict system in enrollment, teaching, examination and graduation, the school has provided large numbers of religious talents for the Tibetan area.
There are all kinds of artworks in the Labrang Monastery.
There are various pagodas covered with gold foils, jade, ivories and precious woods in the Labrang Monastery. There are also skillfullymade and vivid figures of Buddha. The large ones can reach over 10 meters (33 feet) high and weigh tons whilethe small ones only measure 2 or 3 centimeters and weigh no more than 2 or 3 liang (28.35 liang equals 1 ounce). In addition, exquisitely made thangka paintings and colorful wall hangings are displayed on the walls.
Location:Xiahe County, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gannan, Gansu Province
Transportation:take a bus at Lanzhou Bus Stationto Xiahe Bus Station, and then transfer to another bus there
Opening times:8:00 am to 6:00 pm each day
I updated this article on December 17, 2013
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