The Kumbum Stupa is the landmark of Gyantse, a town located in 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 rising in the manner of a step pyramid.
Kumbum Stupa was constructed in 1418 and completed in 1427, with both classic Stupa style and pagoda style. This amazing structure is 35 meters in height and octagonal in shape, also has a 9 storey terraced exterior, 108 chapels, and superb murals (wall paintings). It raises over four symmetrical floors plus two upper floors, and it is capped with a gold dome.
The four floors contain 108 chapels which the pilgrims visit from bottom to top in a clockwise direction. 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 consisted 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. It’s 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".
Location: at the northeast of Gyantse County, 100 km east of Shigatse
Transportation: Shigatse bus station on Shanghai Middle Road has hourly bus daily to Gyangze County.
Opening hours: 09:00 to 19:00
CNY10 is expected for entering Kumbum Stupa with camera.
Tips: Light in Kumbum Stupa is dim, so you’d better not use flashlight when you take photos for murals and sculptures. A good way is using time exposure and a tripod.