Wútún Sì

sights / Religious

Lonely Planet review

Sengeshong village, 6km from Tóngrén, is the place to head if you’re interested in Tib- etan art. There are two monasteries, collectively known as Wútún Sì (吾屯寺), that are divided into an Upper (Yango) Monastery , closest to town, and a Lower (Mango) Monastery . The monks will show you around whatever chapels happen to be open and then take you to a showroom or workshop. The resident artists are no amateurs – commissions for their work come in all the way from Lhasa, and prices aren’t cheap. Artwork at the Upper Monastery is of an exceptionally high quality, but expect to pay hundreds of rénmínbì for the smallest thangka, thousands for a poster-sized one and tens or even hundreds of thousands for the largest pieces. Remember, though, that an A4-sized thangka takes one artist at least a month to complete, and larger pieces take two artists up to a year to finish. Just outside the Lower Monastery there are more showrooms and you’ll find cheaper versions here (from ¥300), although the quality is still high.

The Lower Monastery is easily recognisable by eight large chörten out front. While there, check out the 100-year-old Jampa Lhakhang (Jampa Temple) and the new chapels dedicated to Chenresig and Tsongkhapa.

The Upper Monastery includes a massive modern chörten as well as the old dukhang (assembly hall) and the new chapel dedicated to Maitreya (Shampa in Amdo dialect). The interior murals here (painted by local artists) are superb.

To get here, take a minibus (¥2 per seat) from the intersection just uphill from Tóngrén bus station ticket office. The walk back from here is pleasant.