Friday, 13 October 2017

Silk Road: White Pagoda Temple

A bronze statue of Tibetan Lama Sagya Pandit with a reconstructed temple
North of Lanzhou is the White Pagoda Temple, a massive white stupa set against the blue sky and roses. It was built in honour of a Tibetan Lama, Sagya Pandit Gonggar Gyamcan, who came here for talks with Mongol prince Gotan, about Tibetan submission to the Mongols.

The ruins of the original temple with an offering urn
This also led to the spread of Tibetan Buddhism to Mongolia, as Sagya Pandit taught for five years until his death in 1251. He was buried here.

The original temple was destroyed and rebuilt a few times before its current incarnation, a large white bulbous stupa. But after you walk past it, you can see the ruins of the original temple which are even more interesting.

It looks like a pile of old bricks that only amount to part of the base of the temple, but they seem to have more meaning than a shiny bronze statue of the Lama completed in 2012.

A very old gate within the Confucian Temple
Our Tibetan guide was keen to pay his respects here, circling both the new and old temple, saying prayers and bowing three times.

We also visited the Confucius Temple in Wuwei that was built during the Ming Dynasty in 1439 on instruction from the reigning emperor at the time. It took two years to build it, but various extensions were added on later.

A statue of Confucius
Wandering around here is nice -- there's hardly anyone else around and lots of architectural details to photograph. One wonders though if it still has as much significance today as it did centuries ago...




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