Yumbulagang locates on the mountain top. From far away, it looks just like a blockhouse. In Tibetan language, “Yumbu” means female deer and “lagang” means sacred palace. Yumbu is named after the shape of the Jormo Zhaxi Ceri Mountain, which looks like a female deer.
Yumbulagang menas the "palace of mother and son”. It is the first palace and one of the earliest buildings in Tibet, with an amazing history of more than 2,000 years. It’s said that the building was built for Nyatri Tsanpo, who was the first Tibetan King. He lived in the 2nd century BC. Later, it became the summer palace of Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng. During the time of the 5th Dalai Lama, the place was changed into the monastery of Old-Yellow Hat Sect.
The Jormo Zhaxi Ceri means “auspicious mountain”. There is an ever-flowing spring called “Geer spring”, locating just about 400 m in the northeast from the mountain. It’s said that the spring is "a cure for all", so it attracts a large number of people to come to Yumbulagang and have a drink and take a bath in the magic spring.
The building sits on the summit of the Jormo Zhaxi Ceri Mountain, which is on the east bank of the Yarlung River. It takes about five kilometers in the south from the Tradrug county.
You can rent a motor tricycle for about 40 Yuan for a round-trip. This is th most convenient way to get there. But remember to bargain with the driver in advance, and ask the driver to stop at Trandruk Monastery on the way back. Set down your route with the driver in advance to prevent the driver asking for an extra charge.
3. Opening time: Anytime is ok.
4. Admission Fee: 30 RMB.
5 .Recommended visiting time: around an hour or so.
6. Evaluation: This is the Tibet's first palace with a historical significance.
A folktale about the construction of Yumbulagang begins with the first Tsanpo, who was said to be the Heavenly son descended to Tsantang Plains by heavenly ladder one day. He was seen by 12 Bon herdsmen and was made king of the tribe by those herdsmen. Since he was brought down to the tribe sitting on the shoulders of the herdsmen, he got the name of Nyatri Tsanpo, which means “the King Seated on the Throne Neck”. The palace of Yumbulagang was built as the palace for Nyatri Tsanpo.
8. Scenic spot
There are mainly two parts in Yumbulagang. The front part is multi-layer palace, and the back part is a square watchtower. There is a high blockhouse connected with the front part.
After Songtsan Gampo moved the capital to Lhasa in the 7th century, Yumbulagang gradually became a Buddhist palace. The ground floor is the palace of ancient Tibetan Kings. In the middle you would see a statue of Buddha, with Nyatri Tsanpo’s statue on the left and Songtsan Gampo’s to the right. Along the left wall are statues of Songtsan Gampo’s capable minister: Sanbuzha¡¢Tritsong Detsen, Tibetan ruler Totonianzhan. Other statues are Tibetan rulers: Heyebabu, Wusong, Songtsan Gampo’s another minister Ka Dongzhan.
The first floor is an elaborate hall enshrined the statues of Avalokitesvara and Sakyamuni. People said that the statue of Avalokitesvara in Yumbulagang is as old as Potala Palace. The walls are painted with beautiful murals telling the early history of Tibet. The most famous one among those is the first one on the left, which tells the story of the first Tibetan King Nyatri Tsanpo.
The watchtower is the highest point of Yumbulagang. It’s said that Princess Wencheng lived here during her first summer in Tibet. After climbing to the top of the watchtower, you can get a perfect view of the valley.
Originally, the palace is of medium size. Then the 5th Dalai Lama enlarged it. Gradually, the place became a Buddhist monastery. Today, there are rooms for the monks and a bedroom for Dalai Lamas who come here to do religious service.
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