Reting G-Taklung G-Pempo
Abstract= We visit Reting G and cross the Kyi chu river in Pödö to take the valley opposite where we go up until Taklung G. We are lucky enough to be present at a part of the ceremony of enthronement of the new monastery reincarnation: of a nearly 3 years old child. We attend the deployment of large a tanka of 70m in length and the beginning of the entertainment by dancers. We leave this place to take the road of Pempo where we will visit the monasteries of Nalanda, Gungthang and Pempo before reaching the guesthouse of Pempo.
We leave Reting during a small snowstorm. We spend some time to help a truck, whose battery has failed. Our driver finds in the compound below 3 girls who wish to go to Lhasa and to whom he promises food and accomodation. What are his intentions? We spend some time to help a truck, whose battery has failed. We learn that the young superior in the monastery lives in a modern building below in the valley and is being educated in the presence of Chinese. Such attitude offends Tibetans and encourage them to persevere in their faith. To follow the tradition, the Toyota takes a turning at the bottom of the valley to circumvent a holy rock which emerges. We continue toward Pödö Dzong.
The weather improves and redeals beautiful landscapes.
We pass the Kyi chu river and two large-sized chortens. We go up a Kyi chu tributary in a western valley.
I take a track on foot on the right which should lead to Sili Gotsang G, while following a group of about thirty monks. On the edge of the path, large piles of stones carrying inscriptions of religious texts have been broken by the Chinese. There are thousands, tens of thousands, but I have the decency not to take a sample of them out of respect for the intentions of the donors. After having climbed 500m, I am exhausted and return. A bit further the valley divides in two parts.
We turn right and a few kilometres further the road curves on the left and goes up towards an immense area of ruins.
At the foot of the ruins a great number of tents are drawn up. Behind the ruins of the large monastery of Taklung which was destroyed but not razed to the ground, we see the new rebuilt buildings. It was initially founded during the 13th century and owned to the Kadampas as Reting. At the foot of the ruins a great number of tents have been pitched and a crowd gathered. We learn that a new tulku (monastery re-incarnation) has been named and takes up his functions today. Just as we arrive, the Public Security arrives and decides to present the child to the office of Pödö. There is a certain amount of anxiety in the crowd. Several hundred Tibetans are around. Nobody deals with us but may be our presence on the spot will lead the authorities not to take any action likely to cause a reaction in the crowd? Who knows?
A Toyota leaves but returns one hour later with the child and his parents.
We glimpse the child being carried away by a lama before being placed under a canopy on the terrace of the monastery from where he will be able to follow the ceremonies without being seen.
We visit the main temple and 3 other chapels. We then take a seat under a tent to lunch.
A small city has been created with its travelling merchants, etc...
There is the noisy crowd, the Tibetan instruments and the singing of the monks create significant background music.
At 14h00 a great procession come accross. Behind yhere are ten monks, a large human snake formed with the aim of carrying a great tapestry of 50 by 70m which must be transferred onto the mountainside overhanging the monastery.
With the music of the sea marine conches this long procession progresses painfully and climbs step by step up the hill. At one point I take part by drawing a side cord to prevent the tapestry going down, because the procession wavers.
After one hour of effort the tapestry is in place and is laid down the floor. In a few moments it is spread revealing a large picture of Cakyamuni.
Then the festivities start. Firstly, of the monks hidden behind their masks and armed with large sticks push back the spectators who are too close to allow the monks enough room to start to perform the first steps of a dance.
The ceremony proceeds at a rhythm which appears extremely slow but which will entertain the crowd up to the end of the evening. We regretfully leave them, as these festivities were not planned in our program and we still had a long way to go.
We return to the valley and at the junction we take the large valley on the right towards the straight up and easy Chak la pass. The sky is grey and low.
We go down to the valley of Pempo arriving in a large plain. Some large pyramidal hills emerge in the middle. A spur on the left is surmounted by the ruins of the old Lhundrup dzong. I wish to visit the valley monasteries.
We go along a series of hills on our left and arrive in the suburbs of the new city of Pempo. We then cross the river flowing on our right approaching another high hill of pyramidal form. We turn left to go up the mountain which borders the valley in the S.
There we find the ruins of the old monastery of Nalandra and the new Dukhangs now rebuilt.
On an old painting, we saw that the monastery was much more significant. It was founded by Kadampas and is now Gelugpa.There were hundreds of monks here, only ten remain
and of the four chapels, only three can be visited.
Interiors are well decorated but the place is lonely and rather lugubrious.
We return on the level of the first village and try to find tracks which descend to the valley. A few kilometres lower we enter another village where in the middle of the houses is the Langtang monastery.
There are no pilgrims and the village is empty. Perhaps people are in the fields? We guess on our left the Chinese prefecture of Pempo. We look for a road which crosses the river and arrive downtown. The principal street is rectilinear and in the axis N-W/S-E.
At the S-E end, the road to Lhasa is on the right. We find a guesthouse to spend the night.
While the guide is presenting our passports to the Public Security Offices, we visit the nearby monastery of Pempo, located among the village houses. There are some villagers inside.
Near the entrance gate, there is a white chorten ten meters high and a menda.
We dine in the restaurant, on the street level of the hotel.