January 4, 2016
2186 CHINA (Yunnan) - Ganden Sumtseling Monastery in Shangri-La
Situated in the heart of the mountain range known as Hengduan Mountain Range, at an elevation of 3,380m, 5km from the Shangri-La City, the Ganden Sumtsenling Monastery (also known as Sungtseling and Guihuasi) is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province, sometimes referred to as the Little Potala Palace. It belongs to the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism of the Gelukpa order of the Dalai Lama, and was established in 1679 by the Fifth Dalai Lama's Buddhist visionary zeal.
At its peak, the monastery contained accommodation for 2,000 monks. In the 1930s, the monastery had provided full support to the Communist general He Long who passed through this area during his campaign. However, in 1959, the People's Liberation Army of China bombed the monastery during their invasion of Tibet. Since 1981, the situation has changed, the monastery buildings have been mostly restored, and currently accommodating 700 monks in 200 associated houses.
It has six main structures including eight colleges. The entrance gate is at the foot of the hill and provides access to the main hall of the monastery through 146 steps. In the main hall of the monastery, more than 1500 monks congregate to recite the Buddhist scriptures. This hall houses a plethora of scriptures written on palm leaves, a gilded statue of Shakyamuni Buddha which is 8m tall at the main altar along with paintings depicting the life of Buddha.
The monastery has two major lamasery buildings apart from several smaller lamaseries. The main monastery structure built in Tibetan style has a gilded copper roof similar to the one at the Potala Monastery in Lhasa. The other buildings in the complex are built in Han Chinese style. The Gedong Festival is held in the precincts of the monastery annually on 29 November when devotees attend to worship and also to witness the religious mask dances - the Cham dance - that are performed by the monks.
About the stamp
The stamp on the face of the maxicard is part of the series Shangri-La, issued on September 13, 2010. All four stamps have the same face value, 1,2 CNY.
• Xia Wei Temple - It's on the postcard 2186
• Green water and blue sky
• Pinghu Emerald
• Snowy town
Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. In the book, Shangri-La is a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia - a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world.
The stamp on the back depicts Chinese Monal (Lophophorus lhuysii).
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery - Wikipedia
Sender: Yue Ha (direct swap)
Sent from Beijing (Beijing / China), on 26.11.2011