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Palkhor Monastery

--Palkhor Monastery is the only temple that has been preserved till today.

Palkhor Monastery locates over 230 kilometers to the south of Lhasa in the downtown of Gyangts County.  Palkhor means "lucky and happy" in Tibetan and it has a Chinese name Baiju Monastery. With a unique history and a wealth of Buddhist art, the monastery has the unique characteristic of Tibetan, Han, and Nepal architecture. There are three sects of Buddhism, the Sakyapa, Kadampa and Gelugpa sects. The monastery is known by several names: Palkhor Monastery, Palcho Monastery, and Pelkhor Choede.

Palkhor Monastery is the only temple that has been preserved till today of the so-called ‘slave manors’ and ranks as number 1 among the 12 manors. It was built in a prosperous social period with sound historical culture background. In fourteenth and fifteenth century Tibetan economy, culture, religion, technology and art developed very quickly. In 1408 after the Lhasa paying Rituals held by Tsongkhapa, the construction of Tibetan Buddha monastery reached a climax. Lots of important and famous monastery as Sera Monastery (1419), and Tashilunpo Monastery (1477) etc. were gradually built. In 1418, after several times of money raising and discussion, the construction of Palkhor Monastery began.

Palkhor Monastery

Palkhor Monastery

The main hall of the Palkhor Monastery is more than five hundred years old. The three story building features three shrines on the first floor. The main shrine has an 8 meter high bronze statue of The Buddha which weighs almost 31,000 kilograms. The second floor has several shrines and the eighteen Arhat clay sculptures in the Arhat Shrine are renowned throughout Tibet. On the third floor, many frescos are displayed. The most famous aspect of the monastery is the Bodhi Dagoba, or Kumbum. The Dagoba is over 32 meters high and nine tiers with 108 gates, and 76 shrines. The shrines overlap each other, and approximately ten thousand figures of the Buddha are celebrated in them. On the fifteenth day of the fourth month on the Tibetan calendar, the Saka Dawa Festival is held in the monastery. It is the day to commemorate the Buddha. It is said that he was born and died on this day. Hundreds of Lamas make a pilgrimage to the Palkhor Monastery to chant sutras and thousands of spectators come from all parts of Tibet to commemorate The Buddha with them.

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