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Wudangzhao Monastery

Wudangzhao Monastery
Wudangzhao (wǔ dāng zhào 五当召) Monastery is situated 70 kilometers (approx. 43 miles) northeast of Baotou (bāo tóu 包头), near a valley named Wudang Gou (wǔ dāng gōu 五当沟). It’s a large Tibetan Buddhist monastery. It is the biggest and the best preserved lama monastery in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (nèi měng gǔ zì zhì qū 内蒙古自治区). 'Bada Gele Monastery' is its Tibetan name, meaning white lotus. 'Wudangzhao' in Mongolian means 'willow', because willows are prosperous in the valley.


Introductionthe monastery
The monastery was built in the Tibetan style. It is a group of white architectures built on the hills according to the principles of physiognomy. The white monastery stands out against the background of the green trees, making it appear very majestic. In its prime Wudangzhao had over 1,200 resident monks, but these numbers have dwindled down to but a few, leaving the 2,500 room complex active, but filled mainly by tourists and believers. The complex was built in 1749, and covers a total area of approximately 50 acres. It has been home to a number of "Living Buddhas", seven of whose ashes have been deposited in one of the main halls.

The main buildings in the monastery are composed of six halls, three living Buddha residences, and a funeral hall where the relics of several living Buddhas are preserved. The six halls are Suguqin Hall (sū gǔ qìn diàn 苏古沁殿), Dongkuo'er Hall (dòng kuò ěr dú gòng diàn 洞阔尔独贡殿), Queyiri Hall (què yī lā diàn 却依拉殿), Dangge Xide Hall (dāng gē xī dé diàn 当圪希德殿), Ahui Hall (ā huì diàn 阿会殿) and Lamiren Hall (lǎ mí rén diàn 喇弥仁殿). The Suguqin Hall is the uppermost one where all the lamas in the monastery gather to recite the lections. The floor is covered with red carpet, and the walls are covered with the colorful paintings depicting Buddhist stories. Queyiri Hall is situated to the west of Suguqin Hall. The Laughing Buddha is worshipped here. The hall is in fact a department where the Buddhist sutra and the religious philosophy are studied. Dangge Xide Hall is also named Jingang Hall (jīn gāng dìan 金刚殿), for several Jingang Buddha statues are worshipped there. Dangqi Xide Hall is the smallest hall in the monastery. In it are several Buddhist statues, among which the most notable one is a Buddha, named Daweide (dà wēi dé 大威德), who has nine heads, 34 arms and 16 feet.

         panorama of Wudangzhao Monastery


Resources
There is also a large collection of Buddhist art in the lamasery, ranging from ancient sculptures to murals of gold, silver, copper, wood and even soil. According to statistics, there are some 1,500 Buddhist statues and abundant fine murals which reflect the historical characters, customs, myths and beautiful landscape. All the collections in the monastery are precious materials for studying the history and culture of minorities.
 

How to Get thereWudangzhao
The easiest way to get to the lamasery is to take a minibus (about CNY 10) from outside the Donghe (dōng hé 东河) railway station, at around 8 a.m. (sometimes after). If this fails you may take bus No. 7, also from nuear the railway station, to its terminus at Shiguai (shí guǎi 石拐) (40 km from Baotou). From the Shiguai bus stop there are normally minibuses that will take you the rest of the way (25 km), but if there are none, a taxi from here should be no more than CNY 30. It is also possible to take a tour with CITS, although this is not really worthwhile, except for convenience. Getting back there are a number of minibuses that will take you before 5 p.m.


Accomodation

If you are still in the monastery after the last minibus, and do not wish to take a pricey taxi ride, there is a dorm in the monastery that has very simple facilities for between CNY 10-15.


Opening Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Admission Fee: CNY 45.
Location: 70 kilometers (approx. 43 miles) northeast of Baotou.
 

Last Updated on Saturday, 31 July 2010 22:37
 

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