Dzochen Monastery lies next to Dzochen township which is 140 km northwest of Ganzi County and 175 km southeast of Sershul/ Shiqu county. Driving through Dzochen township into the valley, the magnificent Dzochen monastery on a ridge and snow capped mountain Dorje Sultrom in distance come into view.
Dzochen Monastery is recognized as the major pilgrimage site of Tibetan Buddhist in the eastern Tibet and as one of the largest Monasteries of Nyingmapa school in Kham region. The monastery is founded by Fist Dzochen Pema Rigzen in late 16th century on the advice of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Later expended by his students, including Drichen Rabjam, Tenpei Gigme and by his successive incarnations.
The area is a pilgrimage place with many sacred sites that are connect with Mipan Rinpoche, Peltrul Rinpoche and other leading religious figures. Today, it is still the main place for ascetics to learn the teachings of Dzochen. Among the schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the teachings of Dzochen are the most popular in the west. There is a retreat center(small houses on the left side of the valley) in the monastery where pilgrims doing their retreats and meditations. Most of the temples closed during the day, you need to find the monk who has the temple key to visit inside the temples. If you are on relaxed schedule, I strongly suggest to visit the monastic collage around 4pm to see the monks debate and study session.
Manigango / Yilun Lhatso Lake
The bustling town of Manigango sets at elevation of 3960m. It lies at the junction of three important roads. Dege lies 110km to the southwest, Jyekundo/ Yushu 429km to the northwest and Gantse /Ganzi 85km to the southest. There are one hotel and one hostel which are located at the southwest end of of the town where you are heading to Dege and Yilhun Lhatso Lake. The Manigango town itself is not very interesting place to stay but it’s worth to overnight, so you can have a good view of sunrise at the lake nearby the town. You can also camp next to the lake on the permission of the guard.
Tip: For those who are traveling to Dege from Manigango in the winter time, I suggest you to spend more time at the lake before you drive up to the highest mountain in the region. Because the Chola pass 5200m is always foggy and snowing and the road is icy before 10am in the morning. You don’t want stuck some where on this road. If you want to go directly, the tunnel should be good option.
Yilhun Lhatso Lake /Xinluhai 4110m
Follow the road to Dege about 20km, you will reach the junction of dirt road towards Yilhun Lhatso Lake, from where you take a walk for about 10 minutes to the crystal clear lake of Yilhun Lhatso. This lake is one of the most beautiful lake in all Tibet. It’s shore bedecked with colorful carved Mani Stones(prayers carved on the stone or rock). From where you can view the locally highest mountain Chola(6168m) and it’s glacier. The lake is surrounded by snow capped mountains and forest which said to assume the divine form of the Cakrasamvara mandala to those who have the pure vision to perceive them as such. The Yilhun Lhatso Lake Nature Reserve is extending from the lakeshore as far as the jagged snow peaks of the Chola or Trola range to the south. It is a natural habitat of more than 150 species of wild animals. Including black necked crane, red deer cervus albirostris, the snow leopard, the argali, the dragon spruce, cypresses and the snow lotus.etc. A short pleasant walk can be taken in the eastshore of the lake.
Tours includes Dzochen and Manigango:
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