Pelkor Chode Monastery


  • Location: Northeast Gyangtse County, Shigatse, Tibet Autonomous Region, China
  • Recommended reason: A Tibetan Buddhism monastery integrated the sects of Sakya, Shalu and Gelug
  • Opening hours: 9:00-19:00


Located in the Gyangtse County of Shigatse district, Pelkor Chode Monastery is surrounded by mountains on the south, north and east and by water from all sides. It is about 230 kilometers away from Lhasa, more than 100 kilometers away from Shigatse and 3,900 meters above sea level. Pelkor Chode Monastery is a monastery integrated the sects of Sakya, Shalu and Gelug. Three sects coexist peacefully. Pelkor Chode Monastery is the unique best-preserved building with the nature of monuments, so it is called "the King of Tibetan Pagoda".

Pelkor Chode Monastery


History of Pelkor Chode Monastery

Pelkor Chode Monastery was first built in 1418 and completed it in 1425. It is a typical Tibetan Buddhist monastery integrating pagodas and temples. Pelkor Chode Monastery fully represents the typical style of the Tibetan monastery from the end of the 13th century to the mid-15th century. Pelkor Chode Monastery is a Ming-dynasty monastery building. Pelkor Chode Monastery consists of temples, auspicious multi-door pagodas, dratsangs and bounding walls. The Pelkor Chode Monastery not only became a precious example of studying the history of architecture and religion, but also witnessed the previous religion, society, the history and development of the multi-ethnic cultural exchange.

Pelkor Chode Monastery


The Structure of Pelkor Chode Monastery

Pelkor Chode Pagoda

Pelkor Chode Pagoda also called Bodhi Pagoda. It is the largest Tibetan pagoda and well-known as "One Hundred Thousand Pagoda" because there are about one hundred thousand Buddha statues and nearly one thousand murals. It is the existing best-preserved and the most magnificent architectural treasure in Tibet. Pelkor Chode Pagoda was built in 1418. It took 10 years to complete it. As a nine-storey and 42.4-meter high pagoda, Pelkor Chode Pagoda is composed of the tower base, the tower belly, the column base and the stone pillar inscribed with Buddhist scriptures.

Covering an area of 2,200 square meters, the tower base is octagonal in shape. There are five floors with the characteristics of bright lines, unique style, majesty and dignity. There are 20 Buddhist temples on the ground floor. Above the tower base is a round tower bottle. The whole pagoda has a big size at the bottom and small size at the top, which presents a decreasing trend from the bottom to the top. There are 108 doors and 76 Buddha halls. The door lintel is decorated with extremely exquisite embossments of elephants, lions, and dragons.

Pelkor Chode Monastery


Auspicious Multi-door Pagoda

With a height of 42.5 meters, the whole of Auspicious Multi-door Pagoda is solid. There are 108 doors and 76 niches. The pagoda is 62 meters in diameter. There are four floors below the pagoda body, and the fifth floor is basin-shaped tower belly. Besides, above the tower belly are quadrangle units, the tower top is the stratified structure, and the towering umbrella and the stone pillar are inscribed with Buddhist scriptures. The plane has 12 angles on all sides. There is a painted circumambulation gallery between each layer. All of 76 niches have Buddha statues and murals, which is called "One Hundred Thousand Buddha Statues". Auspicious Multi-door Pagoda is ingenious in shape with exquisite workmanship, which is an unprecedented and important architectural masterpiece created by Tibetan artisans. The French Tibetologist Heather Karmay stated that the Buddha statues and murals of the Auspicious Multi-door Pagoda are extremely mature work and the most brilliant early Tibetan Buddhist art.


Cultures of Pelkor Chode Monastery

The most important part of temple culture is the murals of the Pelkor Chode Monastery. There are three types of murals, including Esoteric Buddhism, Exoteric Buddhism and historical figures. Firstly, the murals of the Esoteric Buddhism can be divided into three categories, including Sutra illustration paintings, paintings of the Buddha's life and Buddhist stories, mainly in the scripture hall, the corridor and the auspicious multi-door pagoda, etc. Secondly, the murals of Exoteric Buddhism consist of KriyaTantra, CaryaTantra, YogaTantra and Maha-anuttaraYogaTantra, mainly distributing in the Dharma King Hall, the Vajra Kingdom Hall, Amitayus Palace, and so on. Murals of the Exoteric Buddhism are the main theme of the murals in the Pelkor Chode Monastery, mainly including the portraits of Mandala and Bodhisattva. What's more, murals of historical figures mainly cover the inheritance of various sects of India and Tibet, as well as figures such as monks, translators, and Dharma kings. They are distributing in the Taoguo Hall and the fourth floor of the auspicious multi-door pagoda.

Pelkor Chode Monastery


Best time to visit Pelkor Chode Monastery

Pelkor Chode Monastery has warm and mild weather, so you can visit the Pelkor Chode Monastery in all seasons. Summer and autumn are the peak seasons.


How to Get to Pelkor Chode Monastery

Take a long-distance bus from Shigatse to Gyangtse County center, and then walk to the Pelkor Chode Monastery.

Pelkor Chode Monastery


Tips for visiting Pelkor Chode Monastery

♦ In principle, Tibetan Buddhist temples are not allowed to take pictures, but you can take pictures in the One Hundred Thousand Pagoda with 10 yuan.

♦ For the protection of ancient murals, please don't turn on the flash when taking pictures.

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