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Gyantse Kumbum

Gyantse Kumbum is one of Tibet's most famous and impressive sights- a gorgeous and ornate building, the art work here is studied by Tibetan art scholars across the world.

The Temple was built in 1440 by Rabten Kunsangm, a Gyantse Prince and named "Kumbum" or the "Hall of 100 thousand images". This is a spectacularly well preserved chorten, crowned with a golden dome and still containing literally thousands of wonderful murals. The interior too is largely intact and spread out over six levels. It could take up to half a day to explore properly here and there are more than 70 chapels on the first four levels alone. Scholars arrive with bags of reference books and flashlights to see some of the oldest preserved murals in Tibet. Rare in most Tibetan Monastaries, the monks in the Kumbum will allow unlimited picture taking of the marvelous Buddha statues for RMB10. If you don't pay, they will kindly request that you leave your camera with them while visiting. The real highlight are the views from the sixth level where you emerge next to the chorten's eyes. The surrounding countryside and the city below look very impressive from up here.