Riwoche is a little known county located in Chamdo prefecture in northern Kham. It is located to the north of Riwoche county, 35 kilometers away from the county town. It has the longest history and greatest scale in Riwoche county.It borders Nangchen county to the north, Chamdo county to the south and Tengchen county to the east. Riwoche is the name of the county as well as the name of a village (where the big monastery is located) and the main county town.
HISTORY OF THE MONASTERY:
The Riwoche lineage has its roots in the great 12th-century Master, Taklung Tangpa, the founder of the Taklung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The Riwoche lineage also fully integrates the Nyingma teachings descended from the great 9th-century Master, Padmasambhava. The monastery was founded by the "Tapa worsepa in 1276. After extensions by the abbots of successive dynasties, a famous monastery with a board scale and distinctive architectural stlye has taken shape.
THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS:
The main attraction in Riwoche county is the Riwoche Tsuklakhang monastery . This monastery is shaped in a huge square and is unlike any other monastery found in Tibet. Prayer wheels, many of which are covered in dried animal skins, are lined all around the 4 walls of the monastery. Tsuklakhang(containing both Kagur and Tengur) has total area 3334 square meters in building areas and 48 mters in hight. It has three floors: the floor of stripe hall, the floor of red hall and the floor of white hall. The exposed walls of the first floor are painted in red, white and grey stripes, so it is called "Stripe Hall". The exposed walls of the second are painted with red, so it is called "Red Hall", on the third floor, the exposed wlls are painted in white, so it is called "White Hall". The whole architecture is a combination of the architectural style of Tibetan, Han and Nepal, of magnificent momentum and its own stlye.
AROUND THE MONASTERY:
Riwoche sits at an average elevation of around 3400m / 11,152 feet. The Dzi River, a tributary to the Mekong River, flows through the county. Most of the county is farmland where barley and wheat fields are in abundance. Yaks can be found just about everwhere, but the herders live in houses year round and are not nomadic. Evergreen forests are throughout the county. The weather here is suprisingly mild with summer temperatures averaging between 22 and 24C (72-75F). Winter is also relatively mild with high temperatures averaging between 10 and 12C (50-54F) with lows between 1 and 3C (33-37F). Rain occurs in summer, but winter sees very little precipitation.
Riwoche is the name of the county as well as the name of a village (where the big monastery is located) and the main county town. This county sees very few foreign tourists probably due to the fact that you need no less than 4 permits to get here and that a trip here from Lhasa, Xining or Chengdu is quite expensive. No independent travel is allowed anywhere in Riwoche or the eastern region of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The only legal way to get here is through a travel agency using a private 4WD with a tour guide.
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