Songzanlin Monastery

The largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, the Songzanlin Monastery is located near Shangri-la County. The monastery is known as the little Potala Palace, because its traditional Tibetan atmosphere resembles the famous palace in Lhasa. Built on top of a mountain, at an elevation of 3,380 meters, the monastery's location and architecture make is a fantastic destination.

The original structures were built in 1679, during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) by the Fifth Dalai Lama according to traditional Tibetan Buddhist temple design. It has six main buildings which include eight Buddhist colleges. The entrance gate to the monastery is located at the base of the mountain and 146 steps need to be climbed to reach the monastery itself. The main hall of the Songzanlin Monastery house a huge collection of Buddhist Sutras and an 8 meter tall gilded statue of The Buddha is the centerpiece of the hall. There are many lamaseries where the monks reside.