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Labrang Monastery

Labrang Monastery is located in Xiahe County in Gansu Province. It is considered as one of the six great monasteries of the Gelukpa (Yellow Hat) Sect. It was founded in 1709 and Tibetan Buddhism's most important monastery town outside Tibet itself.

The complex contains more than 2,000 monks in residence plus eighteen halls, six institutes of learning, a golden stupa and nearly 60,000 sutras. Its architectural layout combined Tibetan style and Han's style together. The White Towers are both in the northeast and in the northwest. The grand sutra and Buddha halls are located in the northwestern part centered on the Grand Sutra Hall. Other halls spread in a shape similar to a crescent moon.

The Grand Sutra Hall is the dominant place for the religious activities of the Labrang Monastery and for the pilgrim's worshipping. Portraits of Buddha and built-in shrines of Buddha are on the inside walls. It is really an elegantly decorated hall.

In the northwest of the Grand Sutra Hall, there is the Grand Golden Tile Hall, which is the highest building in the Labrang Monastery and strongly embodies a Nepalese flavor. It is six-storied and the roof is covered with gilt bronze bricks. A stele with the Han, Tibetan, Manchu and Mongolian characters stands in front of the hall gate. The bronze figure of Buddha Inside the hall was created by Nepalese artisans.

The Labrang Monastery is famous for thousands of statues of Buddha made of gold, silver, copper, and aluminum. There are statues with ivory, sandalwood, jade, crystal and clay as the basic materials.
Seven large-scale summon ceremonies are held a year in the Labrang Monastery. Among them the Summons Ceremony in the first lunar month and the Buddhist Doctrine Explaining Ritual in the seventh lunar month are the grandest ones.

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