Located over 230 kilometers south of Lhasa, is the Palkhor Monastery. This monastery is unique in Tibet for it has the characteristics of Tibetan, Han, and Nepal architectural styles and is home to three sects of Buddhism, the Sakyapa, Kadampa, and Gelugpa sects. The monastery is known by several names: Palkhor Monastery, Palcho Monastery, and Pelkhor Choede.
The main hall of the Palkhor Monastery is approximately five hundred years old. The three-story building features three shrines on the first floor. The main shrine has an 8-meter high bronze statue of The Buddha which weighs almost 31,000 kilograms. The second floor has several shrines and the eighteen Arhat clay sculptures in the Arhat Shrine are renowned throughout Tibet. On the third floor, many frescos are displayed. The most famous aspect of the monastery is the Bodhi Dagoba or Kumbum. The Dagoba is over 32 meters high and has nine tiers with 108 gates and 76 shrines. The shrines overlap each other, and approximately ten thousand figures of the Buddha are celebrated in them.
On the fifteenth day of the fourth month on the Tibetan calendar, the Saka Dawa Festival is held in the monastery. It is the day to commemorate the Buddha. It is said that he was born and died on this day. Hundreds of Lamas make a pilgrimage to the Palkhor Monastery to chant sutras and thousands of spectators come from all parts of Tibet to commemorate The Buddha with them.
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