carte jour 24
Abstract= We visit the monastery of Tashilhunpo and Shalu G before returning in Shigatse.

Shigatse. In the morning, Olivier and I, visit the famous monastery of Tashilumpo, the residence of Panchen-lamas, entirely saved from destruction during the Cultural revolution.
As the Dalai-Lama escaped in India in 1959, the Panchen-Lama compromised with the Chinese party. He was kept far from his homeland and was very often present on numerous pictures in company of Mao-tse-toung. But in the eighties, he secretly wrote a report wher he described all the ignominies imposed on the Tibetan population. He was emprisonned and died in prison, as a result of poor treatment. A copy of this text managed to reach the western world. The monastery escaped entirely tthe destruction by Red Guards.
The principal entry leaves the South of the city. Undoubtedly, a plan by the Chinese to limit visitors?

The usual circuit leads us to a white group of chortens before reaching the chapels containing large gold chortens (tombs) of the Panchen lama.

It is difficult to remain indifferent in front of this intact monastic city and the magnificence of the fronts of its five main Dukhangs ? Inside, we discover, as in the Potala Palace, chortens of 6/10m of high of the previous Panchen-lama covered in gold leaf as well as many relics. On the way back, we take a dru-dru (a small agricultural carriage with three wheels) back to the market. We make some additional purchases there before returning to the hotel where we rejoin the group and we leave all together as the previous day to reach the Tibetan restaurant for lunch. At 14h00, we meet Lobsang and the driver' daughter in the long distance bus station where they will find a bus for Lhasa.

We travel towards Shalu., retracing part of the road which we had travelled yesterday, which proved well that the road in the S was really cut in the southern of Shigatse.

Five kilometres before Shalu we discover on the right side a Tibetan house called Gyengong Lhakang which is being rebuilt.

We pass the village of Shalu where the monastery is in the south of the village.

We enter a courtyard and then to enter the temple we pass a lateral gate on the left side of the building. The front oldest part was constructed in the 11th century and held four lateral chapels. Those dark rooms are always covered by original paintings but had been used as warehouses during Chinese occupation and are not yet opened to pilgrims. The monastery was extended during the 13th century to its current form.
It has a particular violet-blue color which is of the Sakyapa branch. The new Dukhang has lateral chapels. The 13th centuy paintings made by Nepaleses artists are remarkable. The precision of details and the brightness of the colors has never been surpassed in the Far-East. he sight of those four two meter high "Jinas" is as emotional as that of the Jocond in Paris. We have seen many masterpieces in a few days! It is hard to leave the place!

On the first floor, there are also four chapels to visit. From the place where the vehicle is stopped we can see on the other side of the valley Riphuk gompa which hides a meditation cave.

Return downtown (in Shigatse) where the Bank of China refuses to give us money from my Visa card. Fortunately I have with me a small reserve of dollars, I am forced to change some of them here.

We finished the day visiting a Tibetan carpets factory. We are shocked, by the presence of two Chinese spy women who observe all. A panel indicates at the entry that this cooperative is associated with the monastery. We feel all is directed by Chinese and that the people who work here are being exploited. Curiously the prices are fixed in American dollars and the payment in Euros is refused. We also notice that the personnel were nervous, which led us to believe that the company was not functionning correctly.

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