The Silk Road Travel Guide

The Silk Road Sights

Kumbum Monastery (Tǎ ěr sì)

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 01/20/2010

Fodor's Review

The magnificent Kumbum Monastery lies 25 km (15 miles) southwest of Xining. One of the six great monasteries of the Tibetan Buddhist sect known as Yellow Hat—and reputedly the birthplace of the sect's founder, Tsong Khapa—construction began in 1560. A great reformer who lived in the early 1400s, Tsong Khapa formulated a new doctrine that stressed a return to monastic discipline, strict celibacy, and moral and philosophical thought over magic and mysticism. Tsong's followers have controlled Tibetan politics since the 17th century. Still a magnet for Tibetan pilgrims and, more recently, waves of tourists, Kumbum boasts a dozen prayer halls, an exhibition hall, and monks' quarters (look out for the yak butter sculptures), each one a beautiful demonstration of Tibetan architectural style. No photos are allowed. Public buses (Y6) to Huangzhong depart frequently from Zifang Jie Bus Station. Get off at the last stop and walk 2 km (1 mile) uphill, or take the shuttles (Y2) to the monastery's gates. Taxis from Xining will run you around Y35.

Sight Information


Huangzhong, Qinghai Sheng, 810005, China




Sight Details:

  • Y80

Published 01/20/2010


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