Ganden Sumtseling Monastery

Located 5 km north of the countytown Shangri La, the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in Yunnan Province. The Chinese call it Songzanlin Si or Guihua Si. Founded in the late 17th century under the guidance of the fifth Dalai Lama, the monastery is an important establishment in the Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, which carries the nickname "Little Potala Palace".

The main buildings on the premise are the Zhachang Lamastery and Jikang Lamastery, both are five-storied and overlook the surrounding residential and learning halls for the several hundred monks that live here. The monastery is a short bus ride from the town of Shangri La, which costs just a few Chinese yuan. However, given the relatively high elevation of the region - over 3,300 meters or 10,800 feet - some visitors may find themselves breathing hard after climbing some stone stairs or just walking about in the monastery compound. The entrance fee for the monastery is about 100 Chinese dollars.

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