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China: Ganden Monastery

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Ganden Monastery | China | Asia

[Visited: April 2007]

When I reached Barkhor square in Lhasa, it was still pitch dark. The frenzy of daytime was absent, but on the square itself, there were people standing around a few buses. Most of them pilgrims on their way to a remote monastery, some of them travelers like me, curious to have a look at a monastery outside the Chinized surroundings of Lhasa. Our bus filled up quickly, and in the end also the aisle was full of people who were given a stool to sit on. Even before the driver arrived, pilgrims in the bus started humming and singing, giving the bus a special atmosphere.

Picture of Ganden Monastery (China): View over Ganden Monastery

The ride through the valley of the Lhasa River was easy, until we turned right. When I tried to spot the monastery higher above me, I only saw a road climbing on the steep flanks of mountain. Indeed, that was our road, and taking countless switchbacks, offering stunning views over the valley below, we reached the final road to the monastery at some 4,500m altitude. The first morning rays were just reaching the roofs of the monastery as we arrived, and I could not wait to get out. After all the monasteries I had seen in the previous days, I felt a need to explore nature; so after exploring the quiet area of the monastery, I set out on the route that ultimately leads to Samye monastery.

Picture of Ganden Monastery (China): Early morning sun falling over Ganden Monastery

Added advantage of walking up the mountain was that the view of Ganden monastery and surroundings became more beautiful almost with every step I took, so I looked back very often! The walk was just what I needed, when I crossed the saddle, marked by cairns or lapse in Tibetan, the view on the other side was completely different: small villages at the bottom of the valley, and mountains towering above the valley on the opposite side. Other than small groups of yaks I did not see anyone. Unfortunately, I had to turn back to catch the bus - the valley in which I knew the path towards Samye monastery looked very attractive indeed. The walk back was easy, instead of walking directly to Ganden I added the high kora to my hike - unfortunately I did not see any pilgrim on the way and had to struggle my way through prayer flags alone.

Picture of Ganden Monastery (China): View towards the mountains south of Ganden near Hepu village
Picture of Ganden Monastery (China): Monastery building at Ganden seen from below
Picture of Ganden Monastery (China): Some of the Ganden monastery buildings in the early morning
Picture of Ganden Monastery (China): View over Ganden monastery from above
Picture of Ganden Monastery (China): Ganden monastery lies protected on a hill
Picture of Ganden Monastery (China): Switchbacks leading up to Ganden monastery
Picture of Ganden Monastery (China): Yak with mountains and Tashi-chu valley
Picture of Ganden Monastery (China): Village in Tashi-chu valley seen from above
Picture of Ganden Monastery (China): Colourful prayer flags marking the highest point of the Ganden kora
Picture of Ganden Monastery (China): People getting off the bus before reaching Ganden monastery
Picture of Ganden Monastery (China): Early morning prayer at Ganden monastery

Around the World in 80 Clicks

Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Ganden Monastery (China). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Ganden Monastery.
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