Today we visited Labrang Monastery in Xiahe county, a four-hour drive from Lanzhou. Yes, it's a trek!
Built in 1709, it is one of the most important monasteries in China for Tibetan Buddhism. It is also second in size to the Potala Palace in Lhasa.
Labrang is a massive compound that houses around 1,500 monks and it still has six institutes of learning, including medicine, astrology, theology, and law.
As we walked around, we saw many pilgrims -- mostly women -- walking around murmuring prayers as they briskly walked by; they would nudge you if you were in the way.
One woman made a very intense pilgrimage. She took a step forward, then kneeled down, and she had pads on her hands and prostrated herself flat on the ground for a second before getting back up and repeating the process again.
We got to see a few of the temples where two had a giant Buddha statue each and in the last and biggest temple has a prayer hall that holds 1,000 monks.
They were coming in for prayers at 11.30am just as we were leaving, and they wore their maroon robes along with a yellow headdress.
Outside were a lot of black boots that all looked the same -- how did they know which one was theirs? Or maybe it was a lesson in not being attached to things...
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