Walk the Tashilhunpo Kora

Rate this Adventure 2.5 miles 500 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by John Maurizi

A beautiful kora that circles Tashilhunpo Monastery. Amazing views of Shigatse and the surrounding countryside. This is a must do when in Shigatse!

Tashilhunpo Monastery is the second most holy monastery in Tibet and home to the Panchen Lama (second seat to the Dalai Lama). I never had the time to walk the Tashilhunpo Kora during my first two visits to Tibet. Although I was in Shigatse (Tibetan spelling, Xigaze in Chinese), I never took the time. On my third visit I finally made the time. It's a wonderful Kora, long with Prayer wheels lining nearly the entire way. The Kora starts to the left of the entrance before you enter the main parking area. It is easy to find by just following the pilgrims. If not, it is the first alley on the right, past the entrance. The Kora begins on a stone walkway and remains that way for the entire Kora. The prayer wheels start immediately as well. You can choose to give them a turn, or not.  If so, spin in a clockwise direction.  

You begin to ascend and eventually get to a point where the path makes some twists and turns. You begin to see the tops of buildings in Tashilhunpo and all of Shigatse. You eventually end up behind the monastery. I encountered a heard of goats wandering up and down the path. As you start to descend you will see a Dzord (Monastery) in front of you. It is worth while to continue toward the Dzord. The Kora never reaches the Dzord. The Kora veers away to the right and will take you out onto a road. Follow the road down hill until it ends and turn right. This will get you back on the main Kora and the prayer wheels.

To Note: A "Kora" is typically a walk or trek around a Monastery, temple, stupa or any other sacred location. In Tibetan Buddhism, this circumambulation is done in a clockwise direction, always starting to the left. Unless you are at a Bon Monastery where you enter in a counter-clockwise direction. 

There are various ways people, usually pilgrims, walk the Kora. While they walk, they may spin a hand held prayer wheel, repeatedly chant a mantra (aloud or to themselves) or simply just walk. To the extreme, a devout Tibetan Buddhist may prostrate the entire Kora.

If you've come all the way to Shigatse (mandatory for permits to Everest Base Camp), make the time to walk this Kora!

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