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China: Tashilhunpo kora

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Tashilhunpo kora | China | Asia

[Visited: April 2007]

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.

Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): Woman walking the Tashilhunpo kora in the early morning

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.

Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): View over Tashilhunpo monastery and beyond

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.

Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): Typical Tibetan prayer wheels on Tashilhunpo kora
Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): Prayer wheels are lined up along the entire kora around Tashilhunpo monastery
Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): Prayer wheels and path marking the kora around Tashilhunpo monastery
Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): Setting wheels in motion: Tibetan pilgrim on Tashilhunpo kora
Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): Red and yellow prayer wheels of Tashilhunpo kora
Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): View over Shigatse and Shigatse fortress from Tashilhunpo kora
Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): Prayer flag of Tashilhunpo kora with completely renewed Potala look-alike in the background
Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): Prayer flags and rock paintings on Tashilhunpo kora
Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): Pilgrims on their way around Tashilhunpo kora with Shigatse fortress in the background
Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): Tashilhunpo kora: pilgrims and prayer wheels
Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): Early morning pilgrim setting the prayer wheels of Tashilhunpo kora in motion
Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): Thanka wall and prayer wheels of Tashilhunpo kora
Picture of Tashilhunpo kora (China): Pilgrims on the Tashilhunpo kora

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