Why is the Kumbum Stupa special?
The Kumbum Supa is the landmark of Gyantse, a town located to the southwest of Lhasa. Kumbum Stupa, capped with a gold dome, 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.
Kumbum Stupa Highlights
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). It raises over four symmetrical floors plus two upper floors and is capped with a gold dome.
The four floors contain 108 chapels which the pilgrims visit from bottom to top in a clockwise fashion. This visit ends in a group of four chapels at the top of the temple. These chapels are dedicated to various Buddhist deities.
It was an important centre of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism and still considered as one of the most outstanding and sacred places of Tibet.
Approximately 70 chapels are housed in the Kumbum. These are many murals- the word “kumbum” means 10,000 images. The kumbum is a three dimensional mandala, a representation of the Buddhist universe, portrayed by a circle within a square. This enables the devotee to participate in the Buddhist perception of the universe and can show the path through it; a very powerful Buddhist symbol.
Deemed as the symbol of the monastery, the spectacular stupa consists of hundreds of chapels in layers, housing about a hundred thousand images of various icons including great adepts of different orders in Buddhist history and outstanding figures in Tibetan history. In total there are about 3,000 statues and it is called "Myriad Buddhas Stupa".