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Chakpori: Faith S hines in the Dark


  In Lhasa. west of the famous Potala Palace is another historic landmark although this one is more naturanl than man made.Chakpori Mountaina is considered sacred by many and once served as home to one of Tibet´s best known medieal schools .At Mentsikhang as it was known one could find the best local doctors arounds .Over the years ,the school evolved into a hospital and now the location remains a renowend medical hub and a traditional Tibetan hospital just west of Jokhang Monastery.

    Locals recommend waking up early to scale Chakpori to get the best view of Potala Palace. Under the bright morning sun, the magnificent structure appears more ter restrial. Compared to other mountains, Chakpori offers an unparalleled fusion of faith, human achievement, and natural beauty. Monasteries, stone carvings, and pious worshippers are all common pieces of the wealth of scenery along the road leading to the mountain. Additionally, the mountain lies along one of Lhasa´s most welltrodden paths of circumambulation (a religious activity of circling a sacred shrine). On the 15th day of the fourth month of each Tibetan calendar year, throngs of pilgrims congregate at the mountain to celebrate the Saga Dawa Festival.

   chalalupu Monastery

   A well-preserved monastery on the eastern side of Chakporiis known as Chalalupa. Also called the Chalalupu Grottoes, the structure covers a compact area of only 27 square meters. A stone pillar at the entrance marks the start of a narrow lane used for circumambulation. The wall is decorated with 69 stone sculptures depicting figures such as King Songtsen Gampo and his wife, Princess Wencheng.

  Songtsen Gampo (617-650) was the reigning king of Tibet when the tiny monastery was constructed over l,300 years ago. After enduring unimaginable ups and downs over the centuries, the hardy monastery remains in good shape. According to historical records, one of Gampo´s concubines contracted artists to carve Buddha statues on the cliffs of Chalalupu. For each pound of rock they chipped away, craftsmen would receive a pound of salt, a commodity in short supply at that time. The savvy move considerably enhanced the efficiency of the project compared with similar endeavors of the time.

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