From Xiahe, we drive by bus another five hours to Langmusi. We are deep into old Tibet and off the typical tourist path. The main street is dirt. Streams of water flow downhill. There is no boundary between the monastery and the town. The Rain Chen Hotel is cold. Because it is Spring, they don’t turn on the heat. Hot water comes on briefly in the evening for a couple of hours. There is plenty of hot water in Thermoses. The fourth floor restaurant has a great view of the surrounding mountains.
There are two monasteries; we visit the southern one, Kirti Gompa. The two monasteries house 1,200 monks. We see a relic of the Lama; he is said to have died in a mummified state. We gawk at this face enshrined behind glass. The current incarnation of this same Lama moved to India and founded Dharamsala.We are the only tourists. Curious senior monks in large yellow hats stare at us. We are lucky not to be among their charges. They carry large staffs with which they are said to beat students who fall behind in their sutras.
The monastery was founded in 1413 by Dacheng Lama Kerti Gompa. There are about one hundred monks focused on academic progress in astrology, medicine, Tibetan language as well as theology. We walk into the mountains above the monastery. We pass the fairy cave. Langmusi means “fairy monastery.” Inside the fairy cave is a well-worn and wet stalagmite. It has curative powers. So we rub our heads for our headaches, our chest for shortness of breath and look forward to a quick acclimitization.
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