Located in the Purang County of Ngari Prefecture, Qugu Monastery(曲古寺) is the first tourist destination for Mt.Kailash kora prayers. The name of the Monastery was popular among Tibetans because it housed a naturally formed stone Buddha statue.
Situated in the north of Purang County, on the west side of holy Mt Kailash, Qugu Monastery is regarded as the first supply station when doing a kora. Here, you can see some simple and easy tents and houses that can serve food and hot water for travelers. You can also rent horses to help you finish this hard but meaningful tour. Built-in the 13th century, the Qugu Monastery with a high altitude of 4,820 meters is the home for the statue of Sakyamuni, a series of Tibetan Buddhist Sutras, and the remains of some sainted monks in Bkav brgyud sect (A sect of Tibetan Buddhism). The frescoes on the wall in this monastery are stunning and attractive with thousands of years of history. But during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Qugu Monastery was destroyed. While in 1985, it was repaired again.
When mentioned Qugu Monastery, a legendary story about the stone Buddha statue appears vividly. The legend goes that this stone Buddha statue was taken to a famous monastery in the Guge Kingdom from a western lake by the Goddess of Mercy. One day, Mt Kailash turned into seven Indian monks and traveled to the famous monastery in Guge Kingdom. But Mt. Kailash was offended by the local Buddhist believers, as a result of that, Mt Kailash was angry and moved the Buddha statue to the remote Qugu Monastery by magic power. Later, the King of the Guge Kingdom ordered the army to take back the statue but they always failed on the way back because the status is too heavy to take away. Finally, they gave up the mission. One day, an old Tibetan walked by a wildland, suddenly he heard a voice coming from a pile of stones, “Please take me back to the Qugu Monastery”. He was shocked by the magic stone and wondered that how he could take this heavy stone away. Then, the statue said again: “Only you can take me back, please have a try”. So the old Tibetan tried to take it with curiosity. It was really as light as cotton. Finally, this stone Buddha statue was taken back to the Qugu Monastery again. At present, you can still see this legendary statue in this Monastery.
According to the old saying, only the lucky person can have a chance to prove this legend that the Qugu stone Buddha can speak. What’s more, Qugu Monastery is also the best place for you to witness the grand west side of the holy Mt.Kailash. However, due to the high altitude and complex terrain, it is a huge challenge for travelers to climb to this monastery. Only a small number of pious pilgrims can reach there.
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