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Home » Tibet Attractions » Palcho Monastery(pelkhor choede)

Palcho Monastery(pelkhor choede)

Located in Gyantse, Tibet, the Palcho (Palkhor) monastery is a Buddhist complex, which has 108 chapels and an old Dzong (fort). The temple was originally built in the nineth century. Pelkhor-tsen, whom the monastery is named after, lived there and attempted to continue the Yarlung Dynasty founded by his father who had been assassinated.

The main temple of the monastery was built over a period of 10 years from 1418-1428 by The second prince of Gyantse, Rabten Kunzang Phak. He was a devotee of the First Panchen Lama. The monastery became an important center for the Sakva sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The Bodhi Dagoba, also constructed by Rabten Kunzang Phak, was constructed from 1427-1437. Every year, during the fourth lunar month, two gigantic Thangkas (paintings) of The Buddha flanked by his two main disciples is publically displayed on the northeast corner of the monastery’s walls. This was also started by Rabten Kunzang Phak in 1418. During the Cultural Revolution the monastery was ransacked and much was destroyed. Much of it has been restored.

The architecture style of the Pelkhor Monastery is a blend of Tibetan, Nepali, and Han architecture. The Bodhi Dagoba is 32 meters high with 9 tiers and 108 gates. The first five floors are square with the upper floors being round. There are 76 chapels and shrines in it which enshrine almost 10,000 Buddhist figures. The murals in the dagoba are brightly colored and are considered the finest example of traditional Tibetan art. The main temple in the monastery has three floors and murals from the 15th century which are in a remarkable state of preservation. The hall’s highlight is the statue of The Buddha which is 8 meters tall and made from 14,000 kilograms of copper. The chapel which houses the statue are painted with murals from the Sutras of the Auspicious Acon.

The monastery celebrates many festivals annually with the most popular being the Saka Dawa Festival which commorates The Buddha. The festival is held on the 15th day of the 4th months of the lunar calendar. It is, according to tradition, the birthday of The Buddha and during the festival, 500 Lamas chant sutras and horse racing and archery tournaments are held.