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Home Asia Tibet Gyantse - Palcho monastery
Gyantse - Palcho monastery E-mail
Asia - Tibet
09 July 2010

Piece of cloth in Palcho monastery, Gyantse, Tibet

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Palcho, also named Pelkor Chode or Shekar Gyantse, is the most important Tibetan buddhist monastery in Gyantse, Tibet. The monastery was founded in 1418 by the second prince of Gyantse, Rabten Künsang and became an important centre for the sakya school within Tibetan buddhism. The monastery has 108 chapels, divided among the several floors. The Brits attacked the monastery in 1904 during the British Expedition to Tibet. Although most of the damage has been redone, you can still see bullet holes in the walls of the building. In 1959 part of it was destructed during the Tibet uprising. The monastery was almost completely looted by the Chinese government during the cultural revolution between 1966 and 1976. Before the uprising there were 1520 monks in the monastery, whereas their number is now limited to 80. In this monastery I decided to pay a couple of euros to be allowed to take photo's inside the monastery. In order to get value for money I took so many pictures that everybody got tired with me.

On a nearby hill lies the Gyantse fort (Gyantse Dzong or Jiangzi Dzong). The fortress dates back to 1268 and used to be a religious seat to buddhist gurus until the 14th century when the seat was moved to Gyantse town.

We got to Gyantse after we'd left Lhasa early morning and had crossed a mountain range near the Yam-Drok lake. After our stop at Gyantse, we drove on in the direction of Shigatse, to spend the night there.