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Ani Tsamkhung Nunnery

Written by Kelly PangUpdated Jan. 15, 2021

Ani Tsamkhung Nunnery, also called Canggu Nunnery, is the only Buddhist nunnery in the old city of Lhasa (the area around Barkhor Street).


Ani Tsamkhung Nunnery has unique tradition and style. It is an ideal place for female Buddhists as well as women in society to learn about Buddhism and knowledge.

Many influential figures were nuns here, including Samding Dojepamo Deqenquzhen, the sole female living Buddha in Tibet. At present there are about 100 nuns in the nunnery.

As a public nunnery, Canggu Nunnery focuses on passing on and promoting ceremonies and rituals of believing Goddess of Mercy and Buddha Tara.

All the nuns are chanting by sutra recitation hall at 8:00 every morning. Then a professional ceremony lasts until about 4 pm. There are also seven large-size collective chanting ceremonies every month.

The temple is not large, but very clean and neatly ordered. It is divided into two parts, one for ceremonial activities and the other for daily activities. Beautiful stone steps lead to the main entrance of the nunnery.

The beige walls, black window lattices and colorful flowers in the garden are perfectly and neatly arranged, showing serenity and tranquility. All nuns here are very kind, always with smiles on their faces.

Ani Tsamkhung Nunnery is especially famous for its underground cave, in which Srongtsen Gampo, a renowned Buddhist, once cultivated himself. Inside the cave now enshrines a statue of Srongtsen Gampo.

Everyday sees three nuns work full-time here, chanting prayers and placing offerings and replacing kerosene. For centuries, this ancient sacred cave has welcomed tens of thousands of pilgrims from around Tibet to pray and chant.

Canggu Nunnery

Unique Features

In addition to its unique religious dedication, Canggu Nunnery is popular among local residents also because it manages to raise funds by itself.

To alleviate the burden of government, the nuns founded some entities according to the nunnery's situation. These entities not only add some subsidies for the nuns but also raise some money for the maintenance and repair of the nunnery.

The nunnery runs a clinic. It employs experienced medical professionals as doctors and some of its nuns who know some medical knowledge as assistants.

For years the clinic served the local residents, and because of their kindness, patience and consideration for the people, they are much trusted by the locals.

In addition, the nunnery runs a small shop selling petty commodities that are both trustworthy quality and price.

Ani Tsamkhung Nunnery

The nunnery also runs a tea house looking on the street, and a small tea garden hiding inside. Everyday, many travelers who come to Barkhor Street to pray, burn joss sticks and stroll around would take a rest under the big umbrellas at the tea house, and have a taste of "Qia A Mao" (恰阿毛, a kind of sweet tea made of milk, sugar and black tea), Tibetan noodles or steamed stuffed buns made by nuns.

Opening hour: 8:00-20:00

Location: at South Linkuo Road near Barkhor Street

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