* Random images of ... the Gyantse Kumbum December 16 2014
Gyantse lies a couple of days by car, west of Lhasa, in Tibet. In a country where every pass is at least 5,000 metres high, & you cross 2 or 3 in each day's travel, that couple of days assumes a new meaning. Travel in Tibet is always spectacular, & if you've branched off the main road, very bumpy & very slow. The main centres are remote from each other, separated by rugged, empty country & lots of dust; so it comes as a surprise to find something as stunning as the Gyantse Kumbum. The Kumbum is the largest Chorten in Tibet, & is a spectacular building, by any measure. Commissioned in the early 14th century, it's a 6-story building, given over to worshipping Tibetan Buddhism. It's 6 levels house many galleries of smallish size, & contain murals & statue-like creations of religious significance.
The displays seem kitchsy by Western standards, & dust is ever-present throughout the Kumbum's galleries, as it is throughout Tibet. But you'd never question a Tibetan pilgrim's devotion to their religious artifacts.
Tibetan Buuddhist pilgrims tour the many galleries, wide-eyed in fervent passion as they act out a dream they've probably been planning all their lives.
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