Garze Gompa


North of the town’s old Tibetan quarter is Ganzi's largest monastery, dating back more than 500 years and glimmering with gold (some of it even real!). Encased on the walls of the main hall are hundreds of small golden Shakyamunis (Buddhas). In a smaller hall down the hill to the west is an awe-inspiring statue of Jampa (Maitreya or Future Buddha) dressed in a giant silk robe, with a tooth of the historical Buddha embedded in the right big toe.

Catch fantastic views from the rooftop, and don't miss the large permanent mandala built into a small pavilion on the eastern corner. You might be able to see some of the complex's 500 monks praying and chanting in the main prayer hall if you visit between 6am and 7am, noon and 1pm or 6pm to 7pm. After the evening prayers, theological debates, full of dramatic hand clapping, take place in the main courtyard (daily except Sunday).

At the time of research a massive new monastery, which dwarfs the original one, was under construction right next to the old one.

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