Pakpa Monastery

Top choice in Tsang

Pride of place in Kyirong's central square is this 1000-year-old, four-tiered Nepali-style pagoda temple, allegedly built by Songtsen Gampo. The main statue here is a copy of the Arya Wati Zangpo, one of three statues of Phakpa Lokeshvara (a form of Chenresig) said to have arisen naturally from a single piece of sandalwood. The original statue resides in the Dalai Lama's private quarters in Dharamsala.

Other things to look for are the mirror of Songtsen Gampo's Nepali wife Bhrikuti Devi hanging on a pillar; the funeral chörten of previous abbot Ngawang Kunsong; and a stone footprint of Guru Rinpoche in the left corner. Mornings are most active with pilgrims, who circle the courtyard's three tall prayer poles before doing a kora of the building.

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