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          Labrang Monastery 拉卜楞寺                

Labrang Monastery is a place hidden high in the hills southwest of Lanzhou in Gansu Province. Nestling at an altitude of almost 3000 meters amid surrounding mountains, and lying on the northern banks of the Daxia River, Labrang is centermost in the small town of Xiahe, county seat of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.拉卜楞寺是藏在甘肃省兰州市西南山高处的一个景点。雏鸟生活在海拔近3000米高的地方,周围被山脉所环绕着,位于大夏河背部的北部地区,拉卜楞寺的所在小镇夏河县是甘南藏族自治州所在地。
Xiahe is,  a quiet little town, existing primarily to support its 300-year-old temple, and to service the needs of the Tibetan farmers and wandering herdsmen living in the Gannan grasslands to the south, and the Qinghai Plateau to the northwest. During spring and autumn, crops and animals are traded for seed, cloth and other necessities of life, in one of the more barren but most breathtakingly beautiful parts of western China. this quietude is shattered in the middle of winter.夏河是一个安静的小镇,主要是为了支持其现有的300年之久的寺庙,以及服务藏族农民的需要和徘徊在甘南草原的牧民的生活,与青海高原的西北部。在春天和秋天,庄稼和牲畜交易的种子,布料和其他生活用品,比较贫瘠,但是是中国最惊险确实最美丽的地方之一。打破了宁静的隆冬。
Annually, thousands of Tibetans make the sometimes week-long trek by truck, bus, cart, or donkey to celebrate the arrival of New Year. Some start off much earlier, and spend months prostrating themselves, with leather covered hands and knees encased in padding, along a ritual journey to the focal point of their religion. Losar, as it is known to the Tibetans, is a sacred festival of thanksgiving, veneration, purification, and preparation for the coming year. Young and old gather at Labrang to light butter lamps in darkened, mysterious temples, and burn juniper boughs and other aromatic herbs in large burners at the entrances to various halls and temples. Pressing their foreheads against Buddhist scriptures, holy stones, and butter-polished railings。每年有数以千计的西藏人使用卡车,公共汽车,车,或驴的,有时一周的长途跋涉,庆祝新年的到来。一些起步较早,并花几个月为他们自己叩头,用双手和膝盖皮覆盖在手上,沿着仪式的旅程,去他们的宗教中心。庆祝藏历新年,因为它是藏族众所周知的节日,是一种感恩,崇拜,净化神圣的节日,并为来年准备。青年人和老年人聚集在拉卜楞寺的入口处,神秘的庙宇,在大型燃烧器和燃烧杜松树枝和其他香草各大厅和寺庙。背诵佛教经典,神圣的石头和黄油抛光栏杆。
Tibetan New Year arrives with the first new moon of the first lunar month. The "First Quarter", the period of increasing moonlight, is traditionally the time for new beginnings, new ideas and for new growth. Some say the waxing moon is the time of spontaneous and instinctive action. As the New Year dawns, families and friends celebrate the first five days at their homes. During the New Year period, four days of religious ceremony, combined with several other days of feasting, renewing friendships and sealing new ones, turn this tiny town into a heaving, multi-colored festival ground.藏历新年是伴随着农历新年的第一个月开始的,上玄月,是月亮开始变圆的时候,是传统上来说就是新的开始,新希望的诞生,有些说法是:当月圆的时候,就是大地万物开始复苏的时候。随着新年来临之时,亲朋好友在新年的前五天在家都相互庆祝,在新年期间,四天的宗教仪式,结合其他几天的盛宴,更新更新友谊,多彩多样的节日。
The Sunning of the Buddha is a spectacular sight for any traveler to witness. The morning begins with Cham dancing, performed by monks in splendid robes and hats, some wearing fearsome masks and others with their faces painted in ferocious expressions. The dances are slow and grotesque, accompanied by doleful brass horns, cymbals and drums, and are intended to dispel all evil spirits. After hours of dancing, praying and chanting of scriptures, a 30 by 20 meter roll of multi-colored applique and embroidered thangka, is proudly and reverently paraded through the streets from the monastery to the hillside across the river. All along the route, faithful Buddhists scramble to press their foreheads and hands against this sacred image, while mounted riders laughingly clear the way by snapping their whips as their spirited horses rear and snort. As the procession reaches the bridge that crosses the Daxia River, thousands scatter to find the most perfect vantage point for the sunning ceremony.
The lamas slowly make their way to the top of the hill and lay the giant thangka on its crest. With perfect precision the thangka and its cover unfurl to cover the slope facing the rising sun. As the sun ascends, the golden silk thangka cover is lifted to display a magnificent portrait of Buddha. Murmurs of appreciation and amazement ripple through the crowds to the background of clanging cymbals and rumbling horns. Equally awesome is the devotion evident on the faces of countless Tibetans who have made this pilgrimage to honor the Buddha and dispel evil spirits. The sight of tiny children beside their parents and grandparents, prostrating themselves before this giant thangka, shows the closeness and unity of the Tibetan family. 喇嘛慢慢地以他们的方式到达山顶,把巨大的唐卡放置山顶。以完美的唐卡,其精度覆盖平展覆盖斜坡面临上升的太阳。当太阳上升时,金色的丝绸唐卡盖抬起来显示的就是一个宏伟的佛像画像。赞赏和惊讶的波纹通过向当地敲钹和隆隆号角。同样真棒是对藏人的无数朝圣作出这个尊敬佛,消除恶鬼面孔。旁边的小的孩子他们的父母和祖父母像他们自己面前的巨型唐卡叩头,瞻仰,显示了亲密和西藏家庭团聚
The day continues with much circuiting, and into the dark hours you can hear the happy sounds of festival and feasting. Then, all is quiet in the tiny mountain town until the dawn of another day of Masked Dancing. 这一天将继续多次循环,进入夜晚,您可以听到节日欢快的声音。然后,当第二天黎明来临的时候所有的在小山上的人都保持安静,等待天明。
As crowds gather in the largest square of the monastery, laymen use long canes to playfully tap the encroaching throng, reminding them that space must be made for the upcoming festivities. A huge striped tiger, strangely the size of two men, running around the square and amongst the crowd ensures that the people are entertained, while maintaining an area sufficient for the dancing that will follow. Meanwhile other monks are preparing their costumes, masks, and musical instruments to ensure a consummate performance before the Living Buddha of Labrang. Finally the entourage appears as horns and trumpets bellow greetings; dancing and music ensue to ward off evil spirits and ensure prosperity in the New Year. 由于人群在寺院最大的广场聚集,外行人使用长拐杖来开玩笑地挖掘侵犯人群,提醒他们空间必须为即将到来的庆祝活动的空着。一个巨大的条纹老虎,有两个人型那么奇怪,围绕这广场跑,确保人民群众的心情,同时保持一个地区的舞蹈,将遵循足够了。同时其他僧侣正在准备自己的服饰,面具和完美的表现乐器,以确保在拉卜楞寺的活菩萨。最后一行显示为喇叭和小号,舞蹈和音乐随之以避邪,并确保在新的一年的繁荣。
At various temples throughout the monastery, there are activities such as scripture chanting by monks who have been commissioned by families to pray for good health, and perhaps for wealth and happiness for their family, tribe or village. There are mass prayer sessions and monastic debates between student monks and their teachers. 各种各样的寺庙遍及整个修道院,有很多活动如经文由家人委托为僧侣诵经祈祷,身体健康,而且可能对他们的财富和幸福的家庭,部落或村庄都有益。有大规模的祈祷会和寺庙中的老师和学生的辩论。
The following day is devoted to the Butter Sculpture display. For weeks and months the monks have spent hours molding butter and painting their intricately designed sculptures, that range from single images, Buddha in various poses, flower baskets, three-dimensional depictions of stories of the lives of Buddha, of saints, and of the everyday life of the people. The sculptures range in size from miniature to very large, and are displayed into the late evening under magically dancing lights and of course the luminescence of the full moon. For it is now the 15th day of the 1st lunar month and the Lantern Festival has arrived.第二天都去酥油花展览,多个星期和多月的僧侣们花几个小时去为他们的错综复杂的画染色,即从单一的图像,佛各种姿势,花篮,对佛的生命故事圣人,三维描绘的范围,以及日常生活中的人。雕塑的尺寸范围从小型到大型,并显示到深夜灯光下奇迹般地跳舞,当然还有发光的满月。因为现在的正月十五日元宵节已经到来。
What riotous color, what mysterious ceremony, what laughing happy crowds of people, what devotion, what life I have witnessed over the past few days. In no way am I able to connect to this strangeness, yet I feel as if I have been part of it all. I certainly take with me memories that will remain as vivid as my photographs, of smells that linger in my hair and in my clothes, of exotic music unlike any other, of sights as colorful as an artist's palette。 缤纷的色彩是神秘的仪式,簇拥的人们快乐的欢笑,看到过去的生活,我没有办法去和这个陌生人取得联系,但是我一直觉得我是他们中的一部分,我将会留下深刻的回忆,就像生动的图像一样。所有的东西都挥之不去,不同与其他任何异国音乐情调,就像调色板上的颜色一样的丰富多彩。
Travel Notes  旅行指南
Labrang Monastery is the largest school of Lamaism outside of Lhasa. This Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) school of Tibetan Buddhism is home to students from Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and Inner Mongolia, who study philosophy, astrology, medicine, meditation, and theology as well as sculpting, painting and printing. About 1000 monks are resident at Labrang, the youngest about 7 and the oldest 80. Most are students at various stages of education. Lamas are highly educated and have reached a high spiritual level. They act as mentors and teachers to younger lamas. There are about 10 living Buddhas that belong to Labrang.
To travel to Labrang Monastery from Beijing is simple. First travel to Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu Province. Flights take two and a half hours and leave every day of the week. The airport is more than one hour from Lanzhou city, but transportation is easy to find.
Trains from Beijing to Lanzhou take about 24 hours - board in the evening, spend one night, one full day, and arrive that evening. An alternative route is 29 hours and goes via Inner Mongolia. The train ride is through interesting countryside, and is quite relaxing and pleasant if you can spare the time.
You are best advised to spend the night in Lanzhou and set out early the next day for the day-long drive to Xiahe. If you arrive in Lanzhou early enough, I urge you to visit the Provincial Museum. The collection is fantastic and the displays offer a fine overview of the history of the Silk Road. At the time of writing, November 2001, the museum is under renovation but visitors are still welcome to most of the exhibition halls.
Leave Lanzhou early in the morning allowing enough time to have a few hours in Linxia followed by lunch. You then have a relatively easy drive to Xiahe in time to settle into your hotel before an evening meal.
Linxia City is the capital of Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu. Home to Hui and Dongxiang minorities, Linxia is a city of many mosques, as well as numerous minarets, and has a recorded history of 1000 years. The Hui are skilled carvers, and the ancient and modern buildings of Linxia are evidence that this art has passed through many generations and is still practiced today. Their superb craftsmanship produces bricks, walls, screens, gates and rooftops decorated with carved flowers, animals, and geometric designs.
Leave Linxia after lunch and enjoy a drive through beautiful mountain passes and countryside that promises another surprise around every corner on the twisting, turning highway. With good planning you will arrive in Xiahe as the sun is reflecting on the resplendent golden rooftops of Labrang Monastery. Your adventure has begun.
2 Days private Labrang Monastery Tour  拉卜楞寺包车2日游
Day01 Lanzhou-Xiahe [L+D]
Pick you up from your hotel and drive 280Km to Xiahe. You can take a chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Sangke Prairie. It enjoys a good reputation in the northwest Tibetan district for its excellent pasture and frequent magnificent Buddhist ceremonies. Belonging to the meadow steppe and bordered by the Daxia River, Sangke prairie is at an elevation of 3000 meters (9843 feet) with an area of 70 square kilometres (27 square miles).
Day02 Xiahe-Lanzhou [B+L]
In the morning, visit Labrang monastery, the most important religious centre on the northeast border of the Tibet region. The monastery created in 1710, as one of the six grand monasteries in Tibet area, has served for centuries there to connect the Tibetan and Mongolian Lamaism. 
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