Day 9 – Drak Yerpa

by Touring Mama on July 7, 2010

The tykes allow throw their prayer papers to the wind atop the pass leading into the Yerpa valley

Since we returned to Lhasa a day early we had time to visit Drak Yerpa on day 9. This monastery is located in the mountains outside of Lhasa and is only about an hour drive from town. Most of the buildings are built into the side of the the mountain in caves. It is an interesting layout, but after the 6th or 7th cave full of Buddhist statues we decided to skip the rest and proceed to have a picnic lunch and walk the short kora.  Along the way our guide stopped at a photo studio.  This seemed out of place on the side of a mountain with no running water.  Your photo is taken on a digital camera, it’s uploaded to a printer, and then laminated for 10 RMB.

Our guide is sweet enough to piggy back Elizabeth around a bend in the Kora

The kora was not too long and the kids had a lot of fun with the rituals. Our guide bought them a stack of prayer papers which they watched scatter on the wind. They had fun tucking their papers into the nooks around the prayer wheels. We also bought a bundle of leaves to place in the incense burner from a mute lady with a baby. Andrew loves anything related to fire so this was great fun. In the assembly hall the monks lay out their robes and visitors may place money on the robes for the monks. Our guide said that this is the best way to support the monks and the monastery without any of the money being siphoned off. The kids got to do the honors, laying a bill on each pile of robes in the hall.

The kids pose with a monk and a solar tea kettle

On one of the previous days we had talked with our guide about the fact that most of the money collected as entrance fees at the monasteries goes to the local (Chinese) government and not to the monastery itself. On this day our guide did not have us stop at the ticket booth, while we were gone the officials asked the driver if we bought tickets and he said that we were only walking the kora and did not need a ticket. When we returned to the parking lot we were hustled to the car and left before any officials could talk to us. It was a small act of rebellion but it felt good.

The views from Drak Yerpa were great and it was a short drive. We had contemplated going to Yamdrok Tso lake to take in the views there, but I think Drak Yerpa was a better choice. It was a good way to end our time in Tibet.

Elizabeth receive a white scarf (a traditional Tibetan greeting) from one of the caretakers at the monastery

On day 10 we spent the day wandering around shopping for last minute souvenirs and packing. I bought Elizabeth a pair of sequined red shoes that I couldn’t pass up though the last thing that that girl needs is more shoes. They look like the ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz. Too bad the $4 shoes couldn’t be clicked together to get us home instantly instead of taking the expensive 26 hour plane ride.

We tried to go to the Tibet museum but it is closed on Mondays. We ended up going to the museum shop, which is very overpriced but interesting. They have live demonstrations of carving and weaving and lots of staff fluent in English to answer your every question. Though I rarely buy anything in these shops, I still think they can be interesting and informative to visit if you go in with the right attitude and can resist the high pressure sales techniques.

Read about all our adventures in Tibet here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avg free January 20, 2011 at 9:59 am

how do i join

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: