Shepeling Monastery

This ruined monastery towers over Purang town from its dramatic hilltop position. In 1949 the Swami Pranavananda described this Kagyud monastery, which housed 170 monks, as the biggest in the region. Soldiers belonging to the fifth Dalai Lama defeated the Zhangzhung army here (ruins of the fortress remain), causing the monastery to be built as a penance. The monastery’s treasures allegedly included one testicle of Indian invader Zowar Singh, displayed every four years during a festival.

The Chinese army shelled the monastery during the Cultural Revolution and today only the assembly hall is partially restored. The views south over the valley and north towards a cave complex are superb but be surreptitious in taking photos. Slogans marked in stones above the military base praise Chairman Mao and the Chinese Communist Party. A road provides access from Gokung Monastery.