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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gyantse and the Kumbum

The next day after a lot of argument with Karma, we drove on to Gyantse. Here are a series of images of the sights of Gyantse, including the Kumbum, Monastery, Hill fortress, old town and city centre.

A village just outside Gyantse with ancient ruins

Prayer flags and a little monastery above the village houses

The flood plain of the river as we approach

The fortress and below a panorama of the fortress and Kumbum

The Kumbum in the distance below the fortress walls.

At Gyantse there is yet another monastery, Palcho, which has an intriguing temple mountain chorten (the largest in Tibet) called the Kumbum (literally, '100,000 images') of with eyes staring outward like the Nepali temples, and tiers of little shrines in rings around each layer, each with different wild Tantric images, and a splendid view of the old city and the hill fort Gyantse Dzong.

The entrance to the Monastery

The Kumbum

A series of images of the Kumbum Buddhas, dakinis and other shrines

Views from higher up

A panorama from the top

The entrance shrine

The altar in the monastery with images of the Panchen Lama

Monks chanting in the monastery main room

Video of Gyantse the Kumbum and the monks chanting

After lunch I climbed the fortress, while Christine stayed in the restaurant to take it easy. It commanded views high above the city and the whole plain to the mountains at either end. It was a breathless few hundred additional metres in the hot sun, already at 3900 metres or about 12,000 feet. In addition to a little museum with mannequins of the feudal court it had one of the few yab-yum sexual tantra pictures we have seen so far in a little royal shrine surrounded by a representation of the fortress as if yab-yum were the very centre of royal power.

Climbing to the fortress

The museum showing a feudal audience

View of the city from the fortress

A further flight of stairs to the eyrie and the little shrine

Old yab-yum or mother-father image in the shrine

Views from the little tower at the very top

A panorama of the city and surrounding valley from the top

Streets in the old town

Tibetan people in the town centre

In the evening we returned to Shigatse and set off next day for Lhasa.

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