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“Beautiful, vibrant monastery - a timeless place to experience Tibetan culture and religion” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Longwu Temple

Longwu Temple
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5-Day Tour: Tibet Home-stay From Xining
London, United Kingdom
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89 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Beautiful, vibrant monastery - a timeless place to experience Tibetan culture and religion”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 October 2013

Rongwo Monastery is one of the major centres of Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) Tbetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama's sect. This beautiful religious community has been through many difficult times, including fairly recently, but seemed vibrant when we visited in early October 2013. Although the monastery was founded in 1301, many of its temples were apparently destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, and so much of the monastery was rebuilt in the 1980s and 1990s, but with careful adherence to traditional Tibetan religious architectural design and techniques as far as I can see. The monastery remains a living religious community - officially it is home to 500 monks although I would estimate around 300 were in residence when we visited - and a centre of worship, with Tibetan pilgrims of all ages coming and going, making offerings and walking the kora circuit around the monastery's perimeter. For tourists, there is an entrance fee of RMB 50 payable at the main gate, which seemed a reasonable amount given the historic and cultural importance of the site and its large size. Although we visited during the October holidays, peak tourist time in most of China, we saw very few other tourists (whether Chinese or foreign) during our stay and this was a great place to escape the Golden Week crowds.

Rongwo is not as large as nearby Labrang (over the provincial border 3-4 hours away in Gansu) but you will still need the best part of a day to really appreciate it. Staying one or two nights locally is well worthwhile as it allows you time to wander the monastery unhurried, taking in all the beautiful details of the paintings, statues and hangings, and soak up the atmosphere, as well as accompanying pilgrims around the kora, and visiting the renowned thangka-producing Wutunsi monasteries as well. If you would like to observe religious activities at the monastery you can ask the monks when they are taking place - we did so and were able to watch around 200 monks practicing religious and philosophical debating in a courtyard as the sun set. The monks are welcoming and some are happy to chat to visitors in Chinese, although few we met spoke English.

Given the difficulties many travellers experience in trying to get to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, it's well worth considering a trip to some of the great Gelugpa monasteries outside the TAR. For a truly unforgettable Tibetan experience I would recommend allowing yourself enough time to travel on to the Labrang Monastery at Xiahe, but if you are short on time a two or three day trip here from Xining is still well worthwhile. Buses from the bus station on Bayi Lu (八一路) in Xining are frequent and only cost RMB 20 each way.

Visited October 2013
2 Thank Luo_Qing81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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13 reviews from our community

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2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Longwu Monastery and Surroundings”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 October 2013

(I already wrote a review to this, but somehow it's not on-line. Not quite sure why?)

Anyway, I visited this compound, and should start with a small correction: it is not at all a temple, but a monastery. Of course it holds many temples on its grounds, but it houses several hundred monks and lamas, and should be titled "monastery", not "temple".

The monastery and its many halls and squares are definitely an impressive sight. If you are into Tibetan Buddhism, or would like to become acquainted with it, this is good place to come to. It is filled to the brim with Buddhist iconography, architecture, and statues. You will see local Tibetans working their acts of religious piety, circling the sacred buildings, making offerings, praying and prostrating.

We traveled with an agency, Tibet Mandala Tours, who provided a guide who was native to this area, and was highly knowledgeable, and added to the experience. I guess it is easy to become overwhelmed with all the sights and to not really be able to place all the various temples in any context, due to their sheer number. To have a translator present also allows for some interaction with the very friendly locals, which enriches the whole visit.

The people working and living in the complex are amicable and helpful. A monk who attended one of the central temples explained the significance of the central statue at length, and led us around it, adding some info to the surrounding religious paraphernalia as well.

In the back, elevated above the rest of the terrain, is the so-called palace of the most important religious hierarch of the entire region. Elsewhere on the grounds the monks' residences stand. The tour therefore gives more than sheer temples, but also allows for a glimpse in the lives of those who follow a calling of such historical importance in Tibet.

I would definitely recommend a visit here. The area also accommodates other interesting tourist stops, such as the painting village, numerous monasteries, hikes, and it is only a few dozen miles away from Xiahe Monastery. Our traveling with an agency also enabled us a home-stay in a Tibetan village, a brilliant introduction to local culture.

Visited July 2013
4 Thank Lozang N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Antwerp, Belgium
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A must to see”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 July 2012

If you can't go to Tibet cause reasons,you will meet Tibet surely in this place!I have not any dislike,the Tibetan people and Lama's are so friendly and will do anything to make your visit to this monastery unforgettable .

Visited July 2012
2 Thank Laurentmax D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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