Labrang Monastery in Xiahe County, Gannan
Labrang Monastery is the largest monastery in the traditional Tibetan region of Amdo. The monastery is renowned for its rich Tibetan culture, imposing Buddhist structures, unique Tibetan food, and the long corridor of prayer wheels.
Type: Temple, Scenic Spot
Chinese Name: 甘南夏河县拉卜楞寺
Opening Hours: 8:00 a.m.~ 6:00 p.m.
Admission Ticket: 40 RMB
Recommended Travel Time: 4 hours
Best Time to Visit: All The Year Round
Location: Xiahe Prefecture, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gannan, Gansu Province(甘肃省甘南藏族自治州夏河州)
The temple was initially built under the supervision of Jiamuyang, the first generation of Living Buddha in 1709, the 48th year in the reign of Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty. With the following living Buddhas to carry on the job it has now become the largest center for the Tibetan religious culture in Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan provinces. Labrang Lamasery is one of the six Tibetan Buddhism temples belonging to Gelu Sect (the other five are Gandan Lamasery, Drepung Lamasery, Sera Lamasery in Lhasa, Tashilhungpo Lamasery in Shigatse Tibet Autonomous Region and Ta’er Lamasery in Huangzhong Qinghai Province). At present, Labrang Lamasery still keeps the most complete teaching system of the Tibetan Buddhism in China, thus it is famous as “Word Tibetan University”. And in 1982, Labrang Lamasery was listed in the national cultural heritages list.
Where is Labrang Monastery?
Labrang Monastery is located in Xiahe County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu, in the traditional Tibetan area of Amdo. About 1 km (0.6 miles) west from Xiahe County in the Gannan Prefecture, Gansu Province. Xiahe is about four hours by car from the provincial capital Lanzhou.
Why is Labrang Monastery So Special?
Labrang Monastery is the largest monastery in the traditional Tibetan region of Amdo, with the largest number of monks outside the Tibet Autonomous Region. The monastery is renowned for its rich Tibetan culture, imposing Buddhist structures, unique Tibetan food, and the long corridor of prayer wheels.
Main Attractions of Labrang Monastery
Labrang Monastery, GansuThe architectural layout of the Labrang Monastery is presented in typical Tibetan style. Covering an area of 866 hectares, Labrang Lamasery consists of 6 scripture-chanting halls, 84 Buddha halls, 31 Tibetan style buildings, 30 palace-yards for Buddhas and over 500 meditation rooms as well as more than 10,000 abodes for lamas.The symbols of the whole construction are the white stupas in the northeast and northwest.
There is Wensi College, an Exoteric Buddhist college and five Esoteric Buddhist colleges in the monastery. Wensi College is the center of the monastery, also called the Grand Sutra Hall. The Grand Sutra Hall is the dominant place for the religious activities of the Labrang Monastery and for adherents’ worshipping. Buddha halls are located in the northwestern part around the Grand Sutra Hall. Located in the northwest of the Grand Sutra Hall, the Grand Golden Tile Hall is the highest building in the Labrang Monastery and is strongly tinged with Nepalese flavor. It is six-storied and the roof is constructed of bronze bricks beautifully gilded in gold. Inside the hall there is a bronze figure of Buddha created by Nepalese artisans. The grand and elaborately decorated, the monastery provides a strong religious atmosphere of the Tibetans.
How to get to Labrang Monastery
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If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to the Labrang Monastery and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.
- You can catch a direct bus at Lanzhou South Coach Station to Xiahe County, with departures at 7:30, 8:30, 09:30, 14:00 and 15:00. The fare is around CNY 75 and the journey takes about five hours. After arrival, take a taxi to the Labrang Monastery.
- You can take a bus at Xining Passenger Transport Center, located on the east side of the South Square of Xining Railway Station. It departs around 07:00. The journey costs CNY 80 and takes about six hours.
- There are buses to Xiahe from other counties like Linxia or Hezuo every day.
Useful Travel Tips
The Labrang Monastery holds seven large-scale assemblies a year, with the Summons Ceremony in the first lunar month and the Buddhist Doctrine Explaining Ritual in the seventh lunar month being the grandest ones. The former one lasts for fifteen days from the3rd – 17th in the lunar January. If lucky, you will see the spectacular ceremony of Buddhism Debating.
The ceremony includes a series of religious activities, such as the free captive Animals Festival held on the 8th day of the first Tibetan lunar month, the Sun-Bathing Buddha Festival on the 13th day of the month and the Cham dance on the 14th day. In addition to this, during the ceremony, all the monks of the monastery would gather in the Grand Sutra Hall to recite Buddhist scriptures six times a day.
Take off hats when you enter the main halls.
Don’t touch or point at the Buddhist statues.
Don’t take pictures in the main halls and Gongtang Pagoda.