AsiaChinaGanden

Spirit in the Sky

Ganden Travel Blog

 › entry 16 of 80 › view all entries
Ganden
Ganden is arguably the best of the monastaries near to Lhasa (we don't plan to visit any others so will be blissfully ignorant if it is not).  We are met by Kalsang for the drive to Ganden, which is only about 50km away so should be a comfortable 1/2 day trip.  Both Kalsang and our driver are decked out in their city clothes - smart jacket and shoes - we on the other hand look much the same as when we were on the road in our fleeces and cargo pants.

Today the weather is back to Tibet standard, clear skies, and the drive to Ganden following the main Lhasa valley east is very pleasant.  The monastery itself is up a steep 12km climb and is high on the south side of the valley.
Ganden
  When we join the kora walk around the complex we have superb views of the Lhasa valley.  Ganden is also the start of a popular 4 day (80km) walk over the hills to a monastery in a parallel valley.  Kalsang is guiding this in a few days and tells us about the logistics involved; yaks (for transport), cooks, porters and yak handlers all need to be hired so this basic trip quickly turns into a mini expedition.

Ganden is the spiritual home of the Gelupa sect of monks, founded by Tsongkappa.  As a result, the temples at Ganden have many statues of Tsongkappa for worship.  The monastery has been recently restored and the general atmosphere is of a vibrant community; it also provides a better insight into monatery life, than many of the places we have visited.  Our driver has brought with him a thermos of butter oil and he and his wife pour a little from this into each of the butter lamps in the temple as part of their prayers.

On the way back to Lhasa we stop for tea beside the road and relax in the sun while we drink.  Kalsang tells us that this is a popular spot for city folk to picnic at weekends and we understand why.   He also points out the large, recently built, college on the outskirts of Lhasa and he seems genuinely proud of the progress that this has brought.  We understand that foreigners can enrole for Tibetan courses here, it seems a little niche to me, but obviously some people want to do this. 
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Ganden
Ganden
Ganden
Ganden
Pilgrims on the kora around Ganden
Pilgrims on the kora around Ganden
Monks outside the main chapel
Monks outside the main chapel
Stupa near Ganden
Stupa near Ganden
Another view of Ganden
Another view of Ganden
Ganden
photo by: hyo