Before or after a visit of a monastery, it is always a good idea to walk the kora around it. I visited Tashilhunpo monastery in the afternoon, and fortunately daylight easily allowed me to complete the kora before it would be dark. It was surprisingly quiet on the way up, and fortunately easy to find. Coming out of the monastery and turning right, always taking care of the clockwise direction to walk the kora, I saw few pilgrims on the way up. I walked the kora nevertheless, and considering the sunlight, I decided it would be better in the early morning, hoping there would be more pilgrims, too.
Still, I continued on the long kora, not going down directly the shortest way back to Tashilhunpo monastery, but continuing on the ridge of the hill towards Shigatse fortress, having a striking resemblance to the Potala palace in Lhasa and looking very new. So new, actually, that workers were still busy finishing the fortress when I came close. The Tashilhunpo kora is special in that there are prayer wheels along the entire circuit. The next morning, I woke up early enough to walk up around sunrise. First of all, it allowed me a great view of the monastery itself, with the first sunrays falling on the golden roofs.
When I walked up, the prayer wheels cast their shadows on the stony path. A few early pilgrims walked with me, carefully steering left of sacred stones and places on the way. The warm sunlight was softly reflected by the bronze-coloured prayer wheels. At several places, I saw lone buddhists reading religious scriptures, seemingly undisturbed by the passers-by. The view from some points, on Tashilhunpo monastery, Shigatse and beyond, was marvellous and the light definitely much better than in the early evening. I passed numerous brightly coloured rock paintings representing important figures of Tibetan buddhism, and stopped a few times to just enjoy the view of the surroudings being covered by the morning light.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Tashilhunpo kora (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 Tashilhunpo kora.
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