Zhigung Things to Do
Medicinal Hot Springs
The hot springs at the Tidrum nunnery are said to be healing. There are seperate baths for men and women.
As the baths are on a pilgrimage route it can be very busy there.
We didn't try the baths but some of our group did and liked it. Only the tourleader was too enthousiastic and stayed too long in the hot water, she fainted....
Close to the Drigung Til monastery is a nunnery called Tidrum. A pilgrimage route leads from the Drigung Monastery to the Tidrum nunnery and the medicinal hot springs. This path takes about a day to walk (16 km between Tidrum and Drigung), many pilgrims do that.
The nunnery is said to have connections to the 8th century Yeshe Tsogyel, wife of Padmasambhava, the Buddha said to be born from a Lotus flower.
0 Hotels in Zhigung
try to catch a ride
There is no public transport from Lhasa to Zhigung monastery, but you can get a bus from Lhasa to Medro Gungkar. From where you have to get a ride. It can be very quiet on this road so this will take a while. The best alternative is to rent a vehicle. You can also try to arrange a tour to Drigung Til, Tidrum and Reting in a 2 or 3 day trip.
In the picture a truck going to the festival packed with people and tents.
Zhigung Local Customs
Buddhism symbols everywhere
As Tibet is a very religious country you will encounter symbols of Buddhism everywhere.
This truck is decorated with some of the colorful symbols.
Some of the symbols:
- The Swastika is a good-luck symbol from India. In Buddhist tradition, it symbolizes the feet of the Buddha. Modern Tibetan Buddhism uses it as a clothing decoration.
- The Eternal Knot symbolises that everything is interrelated. Having no beginning or end, it also represents the infinite wisdom of the Buddha.
-The Eight-Spoked Wheel symbolises the Buddha's turning the Wheel of Truth. The 8 spokes represent the eightfold path to salvation.
- The sun and the moon represented the source of light, but today it is a symbol for hapiness and protection against evil spirits.
Lingkor (pilgrimage route)
A pilgrimage route leads from the Drigung Til monastery along the Tidrun Nunnery and the medicinal hot springs. This route will cost you a day to walk.
Many locals do walk the route, in the case of the picture it are some nuns.
In Tibet they give the death a skyburial. When a person dies the body is kept in a sitting position for 24 hours while the lama prays from the book of death to help the soul find its way to a next life. Three days after death the body is blessed and offerings are made to the monastery. The body is folded up and carried to the dürto (burial place) by a good friend. There are specialized monks that cut open the body so the vultures can get to it. During this cutting the birds kept at a distance by men with sticks. When the body is prepared the vultures come in and eat all the flesh from the bones. They are chased away and the bone breakers are pounding the bones with tsampa, the vultures come in once more and eat the rest.
The Tibetans see this as a disposal of the empty body, since the important soul has already left. It is difficult to not be touched by this ritual as a westerner, especially when the disseased is a child. It was a very intense experience, but one we wouldn't like to have missed. It makes it easier to understand once you saw it.
Ofcourse we didn't take pictures of this ritual, not only because the signs said so.
Drigung Powa Chenmo
Favorite thing: Every 12 year in the year of the ape (2004-2016-2028) there is a religious festival at the Drigung Til monastery, located 120 km northeast of Lhasa.
The festival is in honor of women, children and fertility. High Lamas of the Drigung Kagyu sect come from India and other places to speak to the people.
The festival is very religious and except for the speaches of the Lamas it is a gathering of families in tents, eating and being together.
Fondest memory: In the picture you see 100,000 people listening to the Lama on a field, because the original festival grounds are too small. The picture is taken from the monastery on the mountain.