Despite many of the changes taking place in Xiahe, mentioned in the previous article, don’t be put you off from visiting. Xiahe, and in particular its monastery, is still a fascinating place; though you might want to get there quick!
The Labrang Monastery
Start your first visit with the obligatory guided tour around some of the main temples and halls. These days, there are English-speaking guides and our 2011 guide was truly excellent; a great improvement on the 2004 one. He tells us, among other things, that he learnt all his English in Xining and that he is a second-year philosophy student. Apparently, the monks studying philosophy have to pass 13 levels of knowledge, the equivalent of 13 years’ of study.
He says that many of the younger monks find it quite difficult to be strict vegetarians. Having been brought up on a nomads’ diet, their bodies crave meat, especially during the bitterly cold winter months. The masters and lamas, however, do without meat and tend to eat very little (though you wouldn’t say so, judging by their sturdy physiques).Continue reading “Xiahe & The Labrang (or Labuleng) Monastery”