Located in the capital of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, the Sumtsaling Monastery is one of the most important monasteries in southwest China. It was established in 1679 and is the largest Tibetan Buddhism monastery in Yunnan.
The well-known Sumtsaling Monastery has a long history and a rich folk culture. In the 1930s, the monastery had provided full support to the Communist general He Long who passed through this area during his campaign. However, in 1959, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China bombed the monastery during their invasion of Tibet. Since 1981, the situation has changed, the monastery buildings have been mostly restored and normality prevails.
The Sumtsaling Monastery has six main structures including eight colleges. The entrance gate is at the foot of the hill, it provides access to the main hall of the monastery through 146 steps. The monastery has two major lamasery buildings – Zhacang and Jikang – apart from several smaller lamaseries. Numerous living rooms have also been built for the monks to reside. The main monastery structure built in Tibetan style has a gilded copper roof similar to the one at the Potala Monastery in Lhasa. The other buildings in the complex are built in Han Chinese style.
The road from the old town of the city, leads to the scripture chamber (Gucheng Zangjingtang), which was earlier a Red Army Memorial hall to commemorate the Red Army's long march in the 1930s. At the opposite end of this hall, across the street is the Gulshan Park (Gulshan Gongyuan), which has a monastery with a commanding view of the town and its surroundings. Further along the road, known as the 'Changzeng Lu' (2 kilometres (1.2 mi) long north-south trending street with intersecting roads laid in grid pattern) to the extreme south, is another temple. Passing through this street leads to gardens and a pavilion; and further to the north on a hill, there is a Chorten (Tibetan stupa). The east west road 'Tuanje Jie' leads to many small temples at the south end around the old town.