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  1. Ganden Songzanlin Monastery,Shangri-la

Key Words:The little Potala Palace ,the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan

Location:near Shangri -La County, at the foot of Foping Mountain.

Overview:

Being the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, Songzanlin Monastery, also known as Guihua Monastery, is one of the famous monasteries in the Kang region. It is located near Shangri -La County, at the foot of Foping Mountain.

Construction of the monastery began in 1679 and was completed two years later. The monastery seems like a group of ancient castles and is composed of two lamaseries, Zhacang and Jikang. The gilded copper roof endows the monastery with strong Tibetan features and the 108 (an auspicious number in Buddhism) columns downstairs also feature the it with characteristics of Han nationality. The main halls in the monastery are magnificent, and on both the left and right sides are wonderful frescos, depicting Buddhist tales and legends. The inside-halls are exquisite with cloisters running through. The cloisters are all decorated with beautiful sculptures and consummate frescos.

Ganden Songzanlin Monastery

History

The Songzanlin Monastery, monastery belonging to the Gelukpa order of Buddhism was established by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1679. It was built during the rule of the Qing dynasty Kangxi Emperor (r.1662-1722). He fully patronized the development of this monastery. It is also said that the emperor was associated in the reincarnation search for the Seventh Dalai Lama.In the 1930s, the monastery had provided full support to the Communist general He Long who passed through this area during his campaign. However, in 1959, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China bombed the monastery during their invasion of Tibet. Since 1981, the situation has changed, the monastery buildings have been mostly restored and normality prevails.

Songzanlin Monastery,


Features

The monastery is full of treasures. There are a lot of golden figures of Buddha josses, golden lamps, Tibetan lections, silver censers and so on. All of these are wonderful collections accumulated from each dynasty. They are precious productions made by people of both Tibet nationality and Han nationality.

Songzanlin Monastery has another alias - 'the little Potala Palace ',so named because the whole monastery is in the traditional style with mysterious atmosphere. In 1679, Dalailama chose this place by divination, and it went on to become the uppermost public place in Yunan which features the particular local characteristics. Annually, the Gedong Festival is celebrated here by the Tibetans. Pious believers, with their knees and foreheads knocking the ground at every step, come here to pray.


Gedong Festival

The Gedong Festival is held in the precincts of the monastery annually on 29 November when devotees from the region attend to worship and also to witness the religious mask dances – the Cham dance – that are performed by the monks in colourful costumes depicting deities, ghosts and animals.

A three-day 'Horse Racing Festival' also known as 'Heavenly Steed Festival' is held at Zandiaong, some time in June (according to the lunar calendar: 5th day of the 5th month), to the south east of the town, which involves dancing, singing and eating, in addition to the racing of horses. Horse traders assemble here in their finest attire of furs and silks. Families of villagers camp in tents at the designated horse racing meadow land at an elevation of 3,288 metres (10,787 ft).

A new festival introduced in 1990s is called the 'Minority Festival' held in September when artists from neighbouring districts and Tibet participate to present their art forms.

 Tours Including The Songzanlin Monastery

Fascinating Attractions Nearby

Pudacuo National Park,Shangri-la
Pudacuo National Park is a 500 sq mi (1,295 km2) national park located in Shangri-La County, Yunnan Province in the People's Republic of China. The park was announced on June 25, 2007, and is notable as the first national park in China to meet International Union for Conservation of Nature standards. It incorporates the Bita Lake Nature Reserve and the Duhu Scenic Area in the Hongshan region. As such they are part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site.

Haba Snow Mountain,Shangri-la

Haba Snow Mountain is located in the south-eastern part of Shangri-La County, 120 kilometers away from the urban area. It was sharply raised by the Himalayan orogeny and the subsequent Quaternary tectonic movement. The upper part of the mountain is gentle but the lower part is filled with cliffs, which makes the snow mountain precipitous, magnificent and mysterious.

Admission Fee:¥115

Opening Hours:8:00-18:00

Attraction Transportation:There are autobuses in Shangri-la County which can take you to this beautiful scenic spot directly, and the buses No.3 can also take you there without stop.

Attraction Travel Tips: The monastery is situated in the high altitude region over 3,300 meters (about 10,827 feet) high. It snows even in August, and has a rainy season that runs from June through September. Therefore, spring and summer are the best seasons for people to visit it.

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