Ta’er Monastery, Kumbum Monastery in Tibetan language, is the birthplace of Tsong Kha-pa, the founder of the yellow sect, is one of the six major lamaseries of yellow sect in Tibetan Buddhism. It is 26km away from Xining, the Capital City of Qinghai Province and it was firstly built in 1379.
It is a garden-like architectural complex of blending Han and Tibetan architecture. Its main buildings are Eight Pagodas, the Grand Golden-tiled Hall, the Small Golden-tiled Hall , the Grand scripture Hall, the Longevity Hall and the Palace of Panchen Lama.
The Eight Pagodas were set up in line in honor of the eight virtues in Sakyamunis’ life. What’s more, butter sculptures, embossed embroidery and fresco are claimed as “three wonders of art” in the Lamasery. Besides, four grand Buddhist rituals are given respectively in January, April , June and September in each lunar year.
Grand Golden Tiled Hall
Occupying an area of 456 square meters, 19 meters in height,the Grand Golden Tiled Hall was built in 1379 (the 12th year of the reign of Hongwu, Ming Dynasty). The hall, with three-layered or gable style roof, is a Chinese palace style architecture, which mixes characteristics of both Han and Tibetan nationalities.
Its Walls are formed with glazed bricks and its roof is covered with gilded bronze tiles.There are some golden vases and flame-emitting ornaments on the ridges of its roof.
Inside the hall there are some statues of Buddha, an 11-meter-high silver dagoba , gold lamps, ancient vases, ivory tusks and other instruments used in Buddhist Mass.
Great Hall of Sutras
The Great Hall of Sutras, the biggest meeting place for lamas to pray and chant sutras, covering an area of 2,750 square meters, was originally built in 1600 (the 39th year of the reign of Wan Li, Ming Dynasty ) and rebuilt after a fire in 1912.
The hall has 168 pillars, each wrapped with a colorful Tibetan carpet with dragon desinns on it . The floor is covered with line after line of seating platforms with colorful carpet cushions on them. The hall is ornamented with painted dou gong (wooden square blocks supporting beams and girders), beams , zao jing (ceiling decorations ) and murals concerning Buddhist legends and also has beautiful drapes, sutra cloths, steamers, canopies, embroidery and appliquéd embroidery hanging from beams.
Against the four walls of the hall are shelves containing Buddhist Sutras in Tibetan language and nines enshring 1,000 Buddha statues. Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, and abbot to preach Buddhism exclusively sues the yellow throne, set in the front of the hall, On its roof are some gilded ornaments such as streamers, pinnacles, vases, wheels of law and deer etc.
Small Gold-tiled Hall
Small Gold-tiled Hall, also called the Hall of the Defender of Buddhism, is a two-storied building. It was built in 1692 (the 31st year of the reign of Kangxi, Qing Dynasty).
Its roof is covered with gilded bronze tiles. In the hall are five statues of defenders of Buddhism, which are symbols to dispel evil spirits and to protect justice and law. Specimens of wild ox, black bear and other animals, standing on both sides of corridors upstairs, are made delicately and look lifelike.
Eight Pogodas of Buddha Sakyamuni
These eight pagodas are arranged in one row in front of the lamasery. Each of them, being bottle-shaped, with a pinnacle top on it, stands on square pedestal .
They were erected to commemorate and praise the eight stages of Sakyamuni’s life. They are Lotus Pagoda, Bodhi Pagoda, Many Doors Pagoda, Conquering Heresies Pagoda, Reborn Pagoda, Reconciling Discussion Pagoda, Victory Pagoda and Nirvana Pagoda.
Four Religious Festivals
The four religious festivals in each year, also known as “four sightseeing occasions”, are “the great prayer meeting “held from the 8th to 15th of the first lunar month,”“ the fourth month prayer meeting”for commemorating the birth, becoming a monk and virvana of Sakyamuni meld from the 8th to 15th of the fourth lunar month, “the meeting of turning Sutra Wheel three times” for commemorating three Buddhist lectures by Sakyamuni held from 3rd and 8th of the sixth lunar month, and “the meeting of commemorating Sakyamuni’s birth” held from 20th to 26th of the ninth lunar month.