Gyangtse Pelkor Choede or Kumbum Monastery
Gyangtse Pelkor Choede or Kumbum monastery: Palkor Choede is located in the heart of Gyangtse county – 254km from Lhasa and 90km from Shigatse prefecture. And, the elevation is about 3977 meters above the sea level. Rabten Kunsang founded the Pelkor Choede monastery in 1418. Furthermore, he was the head of Gyangtse Dzong or county. Pelkortsen, a grandson of King Langdarma originally constructed the”castle”. However, later the father of Rabten Kunsang expanded it during the time of Pakdru dynasty.
Rabten Kunsang was a Dharma practitioner and he sponsored the construction of both the monastery and the Kubum stupa. Pelchoe monastery has the main assembly hall in the center. Moreover, in the past, there were 16 colleges around it. Among them 8 colleges belong to Gelugpa school, 4 to Sakyapa school and the rest to the minor school called Puton tradition. There used to be about 1500 monks in those colleges. However, today only one college is restored. Most noteworthy, the statues of Buddhas and masters in this monastery have a unique feature with Newari influence. In addition, there are many wall paintings of Mandalas. The Kumbum stupa has a unique design. Most noteworthy, as it has four doors on each side and many chapels on each floor. They’re supposed to be 100.000 images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, so it is called Kumbum.
Buddhists believe stupa can enrich the positive energy of element and prevent natural disasters. Because it contains many sacred relics in it. People also circumambulate it to purify sin. Therefore, Buddhists promote the construction of stupas, which represents the Buddha’s enlightened mind.