Litang Monastery was built in 1580 by the 3rd Dalai Lama, soon it became one the biggest monastery in Eastern Tibet with more than 4000 monks. The monastery is dedicated to the great Maitreya, the Buddha of the future. In Chinese, the name of the monastery is translated to “forever young monastery”, seems to suggest the mysterious Litang lover of the 6th Dalai Lama and their hopeless love. The monastery is of Gelugpa School, it comprises Jo-Khang (the temple of Buddha), Tso-Chen (Assembly Hall), Tsong-kha-pa Temple (in maintenance), Faxiang (the college) and Tantric Hall, it also preserves treasures like sutras written in Gold, etc.
Jo-Khang honors a 28.5m high bronze Buddha statue, surrounded by Bodhisattvas (scroll painting) depicting gurus and lamas of the Monastery hung from tis richly painted walls. On the second floor you may visit a peaceful chamber to honor gurus of different schools of Tibet Buddhism. Be sure to visit there between AM 9-AM 10 to witness the great morning assembly.
Tsong-kha-pa Hall honors a 23m high statue of Tsong-kha-pa(1367-1419), the founder of Gelugpa School, an omniscient scholar and religion reformer.
Faxia College is the place for monk studying sutras and the art of debating. It also has very impressive Tantric paintings.
The top of the East Hill is the best place to have a bird view of Litang and the monastery, you many attach your praying flags and threw praying papers like Litang people do (you can buy religious items at Pedestrian Street).
Being a romantic poet, the 6th Dalai Lama wrote one famous poem about Litang: oh you white crane, lend me your wings, I will not linger far, just fly to Litang and back. After his disappearance in 1707, his followers believed this poem has foreshadowed his reincarnation in Litang: the 7th Dalai Lama(1708~1757) therefor was found in the house of Ren-khang who later ruled Tibet for a half century. Today, some auspicious signs are still visible (e.g Lion milk traces on the pillar head) inside Ren-khang. This house is also the birthplace of another 6 important Rinpoches(living Buddha).
Ren-khang also has a private museum and a meditation retreat. Around Ren-khang, you may explore the most traditional town of Litang. Among the winding lanes, you can find Litang Folk Museum, Holy Land Youth Book Coffee, Cangyang Village Restaurant, Namtso-Dagye Tibetan Medicine/Incense Workshop, etc.
Litang Folk Museum
Address: 30m north of Ren-khang House
Opening hours: 09:00~18:00
A traditional Khampa house of hundreds of years’ history was turned into the only museum of Litang. It exhibits Litang kitchen utensils, farming and harding tools, religious items and traditional costumes, even a Tibetan matchlock gun.
Namtso-Dagye Tibetan Medicine/Incense Workshop
Address: No. 196, Minle Village
Opening hours: 06:00~17:30
Own of the Workshop, Tibetan doctor Jian-An is from a famous Tibetan family who have been practicing traditional Tibetan medical ways for 8 generations. Not only can you receive pulse diagnosis and a Tibetan medicines prescription, you may also visit the mini Tibetan Medicine Museum inside the clinic where ancient surgery tools (for blooding-letting and moxibustion) and medical scrolls(Smen-Thang) are presented. The clinic also hand-make Tibetan incenses.
Holy Land Youth Book Cafe
Address: opposite of Ren-khang Hosue
Opening hours: 10:00~18:30
One exquisite Tibetan library, proud of its collection of the 6th Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso’s poems. Besides, it’s a peaceful pub to rest, to have drink and wait for an encounter.
Maoya Steppe was praised as one of the most beatiful and widest steppes in China by the China National Geography - the winding river stretching cross wide pasture, nomads herding yaks back to the tents, eagles hovering up and Tibetan mastiffs galloping around. Go have a milk tea in a local tent if you are invited. Best places to visit includes Wulianghe Wetland Park, Zha Gar Rock and Maoya Hot Spring.
Wulianghe Wetland is a great place for photography - running rivers, hospitable nomads herding whistles, comfortable winds. You can get there by taxi, costing about 80 RMB.
Zha Gar Rock, a massive limestone, rises more than 50 meters above ground, standing by the side of National Highway G217 to Yunnan, about 15km from Litang. It is said that Lord Padmasambhava crashed a demon here and used his brain to paint the sacred mantras on the rock face. The rock also has an invisible gate open to the mountain heart, guarded by the small temple beside the rock, yet only open to gurus. There are also some caves, be careful not to fall. Enjoy the rock climbing and cave exploration.
Mount Genie is the highest mountain in southenr Kham with an altitude of 6204 meters. It is said as the place where Chakrasamvara God lives, which may be the reason why no any trekkers in the world make this mountain under the feet. Only the bravest trekkers have opportunities to witness the splendid beauty of Genie - snow leopards, white-lipped deers, untouched forests, deep valleys, green grasslands, thousand-year-old monastery, holy snow mountain...
Legu Monastery, or Cold Valley Monastery, founded by the 1st Karmapa, has guarded Mount Genie nearly 1 thousands years. There are still many monks studying and living in the monastery.
There were once many attempts made by climbers from Korea, Japan, British, Switzerland to reach the summit of Mount Genie but all failed.
Route: Chengdu - Jiuzhaigou
Route: Chengdu - Leshan - Emeishan - Chengdu
Route: Chengdu - Kangding - Gongga - Chengdu