Yushu Princess Wencheng Temple


Princess Wencheng Temple (Nampar Nangzed Lhakhang), or Nampar Nangzed Chok-hangis in Tibetan and situated in Pathang, 12km the south of Yushu Township, Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, where Princess Wencheng stayed the longest when she was married to Songtsen Gampo in 641 AD. The temple was said to be constructed in the Tang Dynasty with a history of 1,300 years.  After Princess Wencheng left for Lhasa, Tibetan people there built statues based on her portraits to remember her. Later, this temple was built. The temple signifies the friendship of Tibetan and Han people.
 


At an altitude of 3,700m, the temple is the grandest and the most precious historical cultural relic of Princess Wencheng’s journey to Lhasa. Now it is a provincial as well as national cultural relic protection unit.  This is a small but busy temple and it is said to be the oldest Buddhist temple in Qinghai province, the inner chapel has a rock carving with a self-arising statue of Jowo Sakyamuni also known as Nampa Namse in Tibetan, the Buddha of primordial wisdom, which allegedly dates from the 8th century. To the left, there is a statue of King Songtsen Gampo.



The temple, which suffered minor damage from the 2010 Yushu earthquake, is small, and few linger in it for long. Look at the surrounding rock faces for old rock and scripture carvings. There is a hill behind the temple and it is a sprawling spider’s web of blue, red, yellow, white and pink prayer flags run up the slopes, down the slopes and over the ravine, covering every inch of land. A steep trail route for pilgrims to do circumambulation ascends from the end of the row of eight stupas also known as chortens in Tibetan to the left of the temple. At the end of the trailhead up the grassy side valley for some great hiking and stunning open views and it takes less than an hour to complete the one circumambulation.



The roads are good and the one-way taxi fare is about 40 to 50RMB from Yushu city to Princess Wencheng temple. Once you get to the temple, take a look around. It's famous but pretty small. There are tons of prayer flags and yaks hanging around though. By following the main road near the temple farther into the valley, there is a hot spring water swimming pool owned by nearby Nunnery. Thangur Nunnery is located just 5km from the Princess Wencheng temple. There are few rough roads farther inside the valley which is good for hiking. Inside those valleys, there are many nomadic tents, yaks and sheep you can witness. In the summer season, the view is magnificent. The hills are completely covered by grasses and on those hills, you will witness so many small Tibetan Buddhist stupas. There is a small stream flow toward the temple. During summer, the local people used to come for the picnic and they stay overnight by bringing tents and other necessary things with them. Some people used to stay for three or four days in the tent.



During the journey, you have to carry enough drinking water and some edibles are better because you will not find shops nearby the temple. You should wear thick coat and pant, especially in winter. If you are willing to stay for days inside the valley, then you should bring a tent with you otherwise you won’t get it from there. And don’t forget to bring foods. The Thangur nunnery used to look after the environment around those areas and you should obey the rules and regulation otherwise they will not allow you to stay there. The only thing you shouldkeep in your mind is don’t throw plastic bags, bottles and waste product into the stream and its surroundings.


 
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