Gyangtse is the fourth largest city in Tibet after Lhasa, Sigatse and
Chamdo.Gyantse is often referred to as the "Hero City". It was a place of a
major battle between Tibetans and British troops. During the expedition of
British Colonel Younghusband in 1904, the 500 soldiers of the Gyantse fort
resisted in a siege of several weeks, before they were overcome by the superior
equipment of the British. The town still has the feel of a frontier town, with
horses and yaks on the main streets. It was nearly destroyed in 1954 and was
largely emptied of people by the Chinese in 1959.
Reasons to visit
One of the more pleasant towns around Tibet, Gyantse
(Jiangzi), located in the Nyang-chu Valley, is famed for the Gyantse Kumbum, the
largest chörten in Tibet. The white chörten, a magnificent tiered structure,
contains a seemingly endless series of mural-filled chapels and offers
outstanding views from its upper levels.
The Palkhor Monastery
The Palkhor Monastery also called Palcho Monastery it is
quite different from other monasteries of Tibet. Structured as a typical Tibetan
Buddhism monastery it was built in 1418 and has remarkably remained intact and
unscathed to this day. It lies about 230 kilometers south of Lhasa and 100 kms
east of Shigatse at the foot of Dzong Hill. The most remarkable feature of this
monastery is that it is the only monastery that houses monks from different
orders.It is a three-storey structure. The ground floor has a chanting hall with
48 columns that are ornamented with old silk "thangkas". It also houses an
eight- meter high bronze statue of Maitreya Buddha, which is gilded and made
from 1.4 tons of bronze. On the second floor of monastery there are chapels
belonging to “Bodhisattva Manjushri" and "Arhats" from the Ming dynasty.
Kumbum Stupa is one of the most distinctive temples in the
world. It is an unusual architectural masterpiece with its nine levels rise in
the manner of a step pyramid. Its construction started in 1418 and it was
completed in 1427. It is designed in classic stupa or pagoda style. This amazing
structure is 35 meters in height, octagonal in shape, has a 9 storey terraced
exterior, 108 chapels, and superb murals (wall paintings).
Like most Tibetan towns, Gyantse radiates old-world charm
when its whitewashed buildings are viewed from on high. So the stiff 20-minute
climb to the top of the Gyantse Dzong is worth the effort for the great
lookouts. In addition to Gyantse, clear views are afforded of the entire fertile
Nyang-chu Valley, and down into the compound of the Pelkor Chöde Monastery.
Gyantse is famous for its wool carpets, and in fact the
Tibetan highlands are the birthplace of what we know today as oriental carpets.
Kathmandu and Dubar Square is the center for many of Nepal's
festivals. The Gyantse Damma Festival has a history of more than
500 years. It is said that Gyantse King, Pabasangbu had a lot of prestige in the
Geshar Dynasty. After his death, his disciples held the worship to memorize him. Another
story says that the festival originated in the celebration of the completion of
the Palkor Monastery. Horse race and archert are generally
popular in Tibet, and Gyantse enjoys prestige of being the earliest in history
by starting in 1408.Presently, ball games, track and field events, folk songs
and dances, barter trade are in addition to the above.