Kumbum Monastery (Ta’er temple) is located in Huangzhong County, 25 kilometers southwest of Xining city, Qinghai Province, which is within the Tibetan region of Amdo. In Tibetan, a Kumbum is a multi-storied aggregate of Buddhist chapels. Kumbum Monastery is transliterated as 100,000 figures of Buddha. Kumbum Monastery is the birthplace of Master Tsongkhapa, founder of Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. A silver tower was first built in memory of Master Tsongkhapa in 1379. A temple was second-built in the 39th year of Jia Jing (1560) in the Ming Dynasty. After that, a group of huge buildings was gradually constructed. Centered on the silver tower, it consists of over 9,300 rooms and 52 halls, pagodas, Palace buildings, Buddhist temples, dormitories, and courtyard.
Kumbum Monastery is known as one of the six monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism in China (the other five are Gandan, Drepung, Sera, Tashilhunpo in Tibet and Labuleng Temple in Gansu Province). Historically, it was highly valued during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 13th, and 14th Dalai Lama and the 6th, 9th and 10th Panchen Masters once conducted religious activities in the temple. Nowadays, it is the highest institution of Buddhism in Qinghai Province, which includes four schools (sutra).
How to get to Kumbum Monastery
The high-speed special bus line from Xining city to Ta’er Temple takes half an hour, the fare is 5.5 yuan, this is the best choice. Some normal speed bus lines in Xining city run every 5-10 minutes, and the journey takes about 40 minutes. Taking a taxi from the airport to the Ta’er Temple takes 45 minutes.
Best time to visit Kumbum Monastery
The weather from July to October is suitable for traveling in the Kumbum monastery. The entrance fee is CNY70, and the open hours are from 7:00 to 18:00 every day; whereas CNY40 in low season, from 08:00 to 17:00. 2~3 hours are recommended to visit.
Tips: If you also want to go to the bird island of Qinghai Lake, April and May are the time when there are the most birds; if you want to see rapeseed, it is best in July; to see the Qilian prairie and forests, and snow-capped mountains, the best time is July and August.
The best part of visiting Ta’er Monastery is given you a chance to insight into the normal life of the monastic. The tourists in Qinghai Province are not as many as the rest of China, which means you really experience something special.
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