We had been driving a long way that day, the rain pouring down on the roof of our car; the fact that we did not go out was not so bad in this weather. We stopped briefly at a crossroads where we had a glimpse of some Tibetan nomads, and shortly afterwards arrived at Tagong. After first having a look around, watching as Tibetans walked around the religious complex clockwise to turn the prayer wheels, we entered the courtyard of Tagong monastery. Also called Lhagang Gompa, this monastery is said to have been built in the 17th century, during the Qing dynasty.
According to legend, when princess Wengcheng passed through this area with the Jowo Skakyamuni statue as her dowry on the way to Lhasa, in the 7th century, the statue asked to be left behind in Tagong. Since the princess did not want to upset the emperor, the statue was copied on the spot, and the copy is still visible in one wing of the monastery. We did not see any talking statues, but instead, let ourselves be engulfed by the quiet, murmured rhythmic prayer of the monks inside the main temple, the scarce light revealing the mainly yellow and red decorated interior of the temple.
Apart from the main temple, we are invisted to see the small workshop where Tibetans are preparing metal, and making the decorations that will be used on the ornamental doors of the temple. For someone from a mass production area, it is amazing to see how this is all done in handwork. Outside, all one needs to do is sit down by one of the sides of the temple, and see all the devout people coming by, setting the old prayer wheels in motion, looking barely in front of themselves. The view is supposed to be great here, but even with the low clouds of the day and the rain, without the view, we thoroughly enjoy our visit.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Tagong 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 Tagong monastery. Read more about this site.