Featured Tibetan Geotourism Place 1

About THL > Introductions > Tibetan Geotourism Portal Resources > Featured Tibetan Geotourism Place 1

Ba Lhagang

in Kham

(Eastern Tibet)

A fascinating small town located on the main highway that runs from Dartsedo in the south to Drango to the north in the Minyak Tibetan cultural region of Kham. It was originally a small village of houses in front of a Sakya monastery which has since expanded into a small town nestled on both sides of the Serche River. Lhagang monastery is an important pilgrimage site for its temple housing a famous Buddha statue known as the second “Jowo,” or “Lord,” named for its connection to the most famous Buddha statue in the whole of Tibet located in the Jokhang temple in the center of old Lhasa. In recent times, Ba Lhagang has become famous internationally for the large Golden Stupa complex built in center of the grasslands that reside just adjacent to the town and below the scenic snow mountain known as Zhara Lhatse. Built by Dorje Tashi, a reincarnate lama from this area of Tibet, the Golden Stupa annually attracts tourists from all throughout China and abroad and acts as an administrative center for Dorje Tashi’s aid projects aimed at providing education for poor and orphaned Tibetan youth, as well as promoting and preserving Tibetan culture through library and other community oriented projects.

Depending on who you ask, the Tibetan word “Lhagang” means either “the place loved by the deities” or “deity ridge.” The latter etymology (Tibetan: ལྷ་སྒང) has numerous interpretations. According to one, the town is generically called Lhagang because it is part of the Minyak Rapgang area. According to another interpretation, the name refers to the fact that Lhagang is overlooked by a ridge (Tibetan: སྒང) system with three mountain peaks, each of which represents a deity from Buddhist cosmology. Coming into Lhagang from the south, the first of these deity mountains is Jampeyang (Sanskrit: Manjushri), the Buddhist deity of wisdom. The second is Chenrezik (Sanskrit: Avalokiteshvara), the Buddha of compassion (noted for the banners or prayer flags all along its side). Finally, on the northern side of town is Chana Dorjé (Sanskrit: Vajrapani), who represents esoteric Buddhism or tantra. The presence of these mountains and their corresponding deities make Lhagang a special place on the Tibetan landscape and many Tibetans say they seek to visit or live in Lhagang in order to receive blessings from the deities.

The former etymology of “Lhagang” as “place loved by all the gods” (Tibetan: ལྷ་ཐམས་ཅད་ཀྱི་དགའ་ས) also has numerous interpretations. One common interpretation ties back to a story from the seventh century in the early days of the Tibetan empire when the famous Jowo statue (traditionally one of Tibet’s most sacred statues) passed through Lhagang en route to Lhasa from China. It is said that at that time there were actually two Jowo statues-not one. One statue is said to have spoke out and declared a wish to remain in Lhagang and so it did. Because of the Jowo Buddha statue’s affection for Ba Lhagang, it received the name “the place loved by the gods.”

Provided for unrestricted use by the external link: Tibetan and Himalayan Library