Adventures in Asia

by Greg & Francie

Ganden Monastery

Francie and I just got back from Ganden Monastery where we had a blast. We initially went up there to acclimate to the 4600 meter (15,000 feet) altitude but the koras (pilgrimage trail) and Monastery were fun and impressive.

The first day we hiked the ‘high’ and ‘low’ koras to help acclimate and the second day I went through the monastery.

Ganden from atop the ‘high’ kora.

View from that 15,000 foot mountain top.

Here is Francie getting closer and closer to the yaks to take photos. One day they are going to hop up and bite her hand! Oh wait, that already happened with a dog in Burma. Actually, the yaks are pretty harmless…


and closer…

and closer!

Here is the window of a building along the kora and a Buddha painting on one of the walls.


Finally, I tired of Francie’s antics and put her to work!

The Ganden Monastery is a working Monastery meaning that monks live and study there and do, you know, monk stuff. The Ganden Monastery hasn’t fared too well under Communist China. It housed a somewhat political order of Tibetian Buddhists and the Red Guard shelled the whole place during the Cultural Revolution. It appears to have also struggled after a riot/revolt that occurred when China banned the picture of the current Dalai Lama…

Here are some pictures of the outsides of the buildings.





Most of the structures have large rooms where the monks use to…well, I guess sit and debate. Maybe they liked to sit down a lot because at 15,000 feet you can’t play frisbee for too long. The Monastery use to house 2000 monks-I bet they are around 250 now.



Not all areas were lit…but I ain’t afraid of the dark.

Here are some pictures of murals on the walls. These types of murals are everywhere in Tibet.

Scary mural in the dark!

Happy mural in the light!

The Monastery also has a kind of printing press that they use to stamp prayer flags. Here are one of the shelves of stamps and some stamped pages as well.



This guy is restoring Buddha! Well, working on some of the statues anyway.


Here are the ‘basic’ rooms we are staying at–note random donkey on the left.


And some non-monks who worked there and made really, really terrible food.


For all you travelers out there…I really recommend Ganden!

August 30, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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