The Songzanlin Monastery

Songzanlin MonasteryThis is the Songzanlin Monastery in Shangri-la.

I’m not a fan of visiting temples or monasteries or churches. Apart from the first “Wow”, the novelty wears off rather quickly. What I liked to know however, was how the Tibetans lived and loved.

There is a saying in Yunnan, that if you have a mouth, you can sing and if you have legs, you can dance. When they party during the new year, it’s like no other. If a man or a woman cannot dance or sing, chances are they will not be able to find a life-partner.

Just as a Tibetan man may have several wives, a Tibetan woman may have several husbands, usually brothers. Apparently they do not easily get jealous if their spouses have other lovers and as such, Tibetans have one of the lowest divorce rates in China.

Aloof cat


fat cat

Regal as she seems, this cat at the monastery has a dozen ticks stuck to the end of her tail. She was so regal in fact, that she was completely unperturbed by the tourist paparazzi that were poking camera lenses in her face.

IMG_0970When you see lions in front of a temple in Shangri-la, you can tell if it is a male or female by looking at its mouth. If it’s open and looking like it’s constantly nagging about the dust and heat, it’s a female. If its mouth is closed and it is calm and looking regal, it’s a male.

20131027_162131The view from the top of the monastery shows the stark ruggedness of the landscape surrounding it.

20131027_170722In each of the large buildings of the monastery, there are huge statues of the Buddha and various other deities. What I found to be odd was that they are placed behind a wall inside the building, blocked from the view of pilgrims wanting to see them in the main hall. One had to walk around the wall to see the statues up close. I couldn’t see the logic of that; it just seemed, unseemly.

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