Thrangu Monastery Destroyed

The reports I have heard from Yushu say that  Thrangu Monastery has been almost completely destroyed and many of the monks are missing.

We spent a wonderful evening at Thrangu Gompa being shown the fantastic murals and wall paintings that had been recently painted by master painters from Tongren. The monks were so enthusiastic and proud of their monastery. We can only hope that they and the paintings  have survived.

Trangu Gompa / Thrangu Gompa / 禅古寺

Trangu Gompa / Thrangu Gompa / 禅古寺 Yushu, QinghaLatesti Province

(Latest: Thrangu Gompa has been almost completely destroyed and many monks killed in the Yushu earthquake)

Just off the main road between Yushu and the airport,on the other side of the river and up the hill, is the Trangu Gompa 禅古寺. The main chapel is a modern building, surrounded by traditionally built monks’ living quarters. The complex might seem rather unremarkable at a fist glance, and a little bit ramshackle. However, don’t let first impressions put you off: once you are inside the main building, you’ll be dazzled by a feast of vibrant colours and stunning paintings that will bring about a “wow” reaction even from those who may have seen one temple too many. Our local driver was shaking his head in disbelief that he hadn’t known what was inside the main monastery building; “tai piaoliang, tai piaoliang (it’s so beautiful),” he kept repeating.

The monastery employed artists from Tongren (Repkong), the most renowned in the Tibetan world and whose works can be found in Tibetan monasteries as far as Continue reading “Trangu Gompa / Thrangu Gompa / 禅古寺”

Leba Gorge 勒巴沟

Leba Gorge 勒巴沟

About 20 kilometres to the south of Yushu (玉树) lies the incredibly scenic Leba Gorge. The Leba Gorge is a magnificent valley full of rushing rivers, wild flowers and painted, sacred rocks. Its vast, open grasslands are inhabited by yaks and wild marmots and its changing, threatening skies are crossed by soaring eagles.

Visitors can access the gorge from a clearly marked entry point near the Yangtze River, drive all the way through and end up at the Princess Wencheng Temple(文成公主庙); which is precisely what we did:

A couple of kilometres down a bumpy track that precariously hugs the mountainside, with the rushing river beside and below us, our car is stopped at what seems to be a makeshift roadblock. Here, a dodgy ticket system is run by some rather shady- looking characters. We are charged Continue reading “Leba Gorge 勒巴沟”

Tongren (Repkong) Longwu Si (2004)同仁隆务寺

We visited the Qinghai town of Tongren in 2004. It seems that over the past few years it has become quite a popular destination. The stunning scenery along the road that crosses the wild grasslands from Xiahe in Gansu Province is one of the great journeys in China (and it is only about 5 hours.)

The Monasteries around Tongren are famous for their thangkas (The Tibetan Paintings you see in the Monasteries). This year when we explored the area around Yushu we visted the Trangu Gompa. The new  monastery building had been completely painted by artists from Tongren. The scenes from the Buddhist hell were particularly impressive. We’ll put them up soon. But for now here are some pictures of Buddhist hell from Tongren’s Longwu Monastery.

I must admit I love Buddhist scenes of hell and Continue reading “Tongren (Repkong) Longwu Si (2004)同仁隆务寺”