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Songzanlin Lamasery

 Shangri-La Attractions

Songzanlin Lamasery, also called Guihua Monastery, is the largest Tibetan Buddhism monastery in Yunnan Province, and enjoys the reputation as "little Potala Palace", attracting millions of tourists from China and other countries every year. This is a fane named by the fifth Dalai which bailments the purest soul of Shangri-La people. People light the candles and fire pine branches devoutly. Eternal ghee lamps light the Buddhist hall and the lections are always recited here.

It was originally built in 1679 A.D., and finished in 1681. It was a main temple used by Tibetans who lived in Yunnan, Sichuan and Tibet and other areas in the southwestern part of China. It is said that the Fifth Dalai Lama decided the location though divination and gave the name—Gedansongzanlin (噶丹松赞林). It has become the seat of the leader of the Tibetan Buddhist theocracy in the big region around it east of Tibet.

Covering an area of 30 hectares, it looks like a mini Kumbum (Ta Er) Monastery. It is located on a mountain slope 5km from the county town of Shangri-La with an altitude of 3,300 meters high. In addition, it snows even in August, and has a long rainy period from June to September. So the best season to visit the lamasery is spring and summer.

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