Kumbum Monastery birthplace of Tsongkhapa

Kumbum Monastery Xining Qinghai
The Kumbum Monastery is one of the largest monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism. Based on the birthplace of Tsongkhapa, founder of the famous Yellow Hat sect, the monastery contains incomparable treasures, delicate Tibetan butter sculptures. This sacred place is a real residence where not only the monks live, but also believers come to pilgrimage.

The Birthplace of Tsongkhapa 

Located 25 km from the capital of Qinghai, Xining, Kumbum Monastery was built on the birthplace of Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelugpa sect, better known under the name of the Yellow Hat sect. It is said that at his birth, the blood fell to the ground, and later a bodhi tree came out. And on the back of each leave of the tree, there was a Buddha image. Then the mother of Tsongkhapa decided to build a monaster here in order to appreciate the bless of the hundred thousand Buddha images on the leaves. This event is at the origin of the name of the monastery, as Kumbum in Tibetan means a hundred thousand images. Today, this tree is protected in one of the halls of the Monastery also named Ta'er Monastery.

The Heyday of Kumbum Monastery

The first hall was built in honor of Tsongkhapa in 1560 by the 3rd Dalai Lama. The rest of the monastery, which is dedicated to boddhisattva Maitreya was built in 1583. At its peak time, Kumbum monastery had 800 rooms and could accommodate up to 3,600 monks. Protected during the Cultural Revolution, yet we were aware of the importance of the temple by walking down its narrow alleys. It is an area with library, writing room, residence for lamas...
The recent renovations have made all its former glory to the monastery. Popping up in the middle of the whole area, Kumbum monastery is a splendor.

A Pilgrimage Site in Qinghai

Kumbum Monastery is an important pilgrimage site of Tibetan Buddhism. For pilgrims from all over the country make the trip there to dedicate their offerings. With Tibetan traditional dress, people enter a sacred world where Buddha is the only thing that matters. Whether on the paths along the temples or at the entrance, we can see pilgrims prostrate themselves down to the groud to pray for every step.

Tibetan butter sculptures in Kumbum Monastery 

There is a place not to be missed when visiting Kumbum monastery, the room where is kept the top Tibtan butter sculptures(Yak butter sculptures). These delicated scultures were made of the Yak butter by the monks during the coldest months. The monks has to be in a room with the temperature never exceed 0°C for 3 months to make these fantastic sculptures.The sumptuous sculptures are then exposed in air-conditioned glass bells, to the delight of visitors.

  • Best time to visit

    Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. 
  • Altitude

    2 260M Altitude Kumbum Monastery
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