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13:26 Apr 09 2009

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Ancient Tibetan lamasery reopens to tourists in Shangri-la
16:55, April 08, 2009  

A 330-year-old Tibetan lamasery in southwest China's Shangri-la will reopen to tourists Sunday after a two-year facelift, said a scenic administration official on Wednesday.

Yang Jianjun, head of the administration office of the Gedan Songzanlin Lamasery Scenic Area, said the 183-million-yuan (26.7 million U.S. dollars) project, funded by the government, had improved tourist facilities and the surrounding natural environment.


Photo taken on Feb. 13, 2009 shows a pedestrian walking along the wall that was newly built in the Songzanlin Lamasery, in Shangri-la County, Diqing Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Yunnan province. A 330-year-old Tibetan lamasery in southwest China's Shangri-la will reopen to tourists Sunday after a two-year facelift. (Xinhua/Lin Yiguang)


Water and drainage facilities had been installed and roads to the lamasery, only 5 km from the county seat of Shangri-la, Yunnan Province, had been revamped and buildings refurbished.

"This was the largest maintenance project I have seen at the lamasery, and it was very necessary as more tourists come every year," said 78-year-old monk Gaesang Yinba.

However, he had no idea how many tourists had visited the lamasery, since it had no ticket tally system before the modifications.


Photo taken on Oct. 11, 2008 shows a view of the Songzanlin Lamasery, in Shangri-la County, Diqing Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Yunnan province. Xinhua/Lin Yiguang)


The monks' dormitories and fire-proofing in the lamasery had also been renovated, he said.

Home to more than 900 monks, the lamasery was built in 1679 and is the largest the Tibetan Buddhist lamasery in Yunnan.


Photo taken on Feb. 13, 2009 shows a gate that was newly built in the Songzanlin Lamasery, in Shangri-la County, Diqing Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Yunnan province. (Xinhua/Lin Yiguang)


The Fifth Dalai Lama chose the site of the monastery, which has a facade that is a small version of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Emperor Yong Zheng, in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), granted the lamasery the name Guihua Temple in Mandarin.

Source:Xinhua

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