(English version from the text posted in Jun/2014)
A few kilometers north of Zhondgian is the famous Sumtseling Monastery (Sumtseling Gompa), which is considered to be the most important Buddhist monastery in Southwest China, with more than 300 years, with about six hundred monks.
The monastery, dominating one of the slopes of the mountains that surround the city of Zhondgian is formed by multiple buildings, mainly destined to the lodging of the monks, emphasizing in the top of the elevation the main temples crowned by the golden glow of the roofs.
In spite of the presence of large groups of visitors guided by guides that at the expense of small loudspeakers lead the visitors through the various temples, it is possible to find in this monastery lonely nooks that invite to the introspection, while observing Buddha statues covered of antiquity and to appreciate the wind that drags the cold dry air from the summit of the mountains and fiercely shakes the bodies exposed to the implacably intense sun that the few clouds that scatter the sky can not cushion.
How to visit the Sumtseling Monastery
- Tickets: 140 yuan (ticket includes transportation from the Monastery )
- For those who want to visit the Monastery for free should take the Bus 3 (2 yuan), which passes close to the Old Town, towards North; the driver requires all tourists to leave to move to gigantic installations ticketing.
To the rear of this building are the buses that transport visitors directly to the monastery.
Skirting the building on the left (the right side is a guard) picks up the road that goes towards the monastery.
The path is always going up but doesn’t take more than 15 minutes, and allows you to make a detour to the left toward a hill where they run the “sky burial” and where it has a phenomenal view, both in terms of landscape as the Monastery.
Continuing the ascent, you reach a high point where you can go straight down the road towards the main entrance of the monastery or alternatively down toward a lake, bypassing it with a wooden walkway; the latter route is longer but more beautiful.
Arriving at the monastery, you must walk to the left side (the main entrance is on you right) to find a secondary entrance that is not guarded.
From here you climb up to the temples.
To exit, one can use the main door because there is no control.
The return can be done by Bus 3 that part of the enclosure opposite the main entrance of the Monastery; ticket price of bus: 2 yuan.