Kumbum Monastery | 塔尔寺

Ta’er monastery is another name of Kumbum Monastery, which is also called “Little Tower Temple”. It was founded in 1583 in a narrow valley close to the village of Lusar in the historical region of Amdo. Approximately 20 kilometers southwest of Xining. The place where this monastery is located is the birthplace of Tsongkhapa , the founder of Gelug Pa. It now has more than thirty temples and a thousand or so houses there.

“Kumbum” is translated as “100,000 enlightening bodies of the Buddha” in Tibetan. It is named after the 100,000 images of the Buddha Sinhanada that appear on the leaves of the holy sandalwood tree. “Jampaling” is translated as “Maitreya Cloister.” in Tibetan. This refers to the Maitreya temple built by Rinchen-tsondru-gyeltsen to the right of the precious tree.

There are about 400 monks live and study in his monastery. Among of them, 300 are at the Debate College and the rest are distributed evenly among the other three colleges. Traditionally, the majority of the Kumbum monks have been Tibetans from Amdo. The remainder have been Khalkha Mongols from Inner Mongolia , Upper Mongols from Amdo east of Kumbum or Yugurs from Gansu.

Kumbum is still a major pilgrimage for Vajrayana believers and scholars. The Arjia tulkus are traditionally given the position of abbot of Kumbum. The Kumbum monastery is still very much a repository of Tibetan culture and art, including various sculptures, statues and religious artifacts.

Address & Contact

Add : No.56, Jin Tang Alley, Huangzhong Xian | 西宁市湟中县金塔路56号
Contact : +86 971 223-3009/223-2357

Opening hour

May 16th to October 15th: : 08:00 am – 18:00 pm
October 16th to the next May 15th: 09:00 am – 17:30 pm


2,700 meters above sea level

Entrance fee

RMB 80.00 per ticket
Free entry: height lower than 1.4 meters | over 70 yrs old senior or younger than 6 yrs child | Dsiable, Army men
Half entry fee: height from 1.2 – 1.4 meters | age from 60-69 yrs old senior | Students (6 yrs – 18 yrs old)

Kumbum Monastery Location

How to get there

  • Special line 1 : departure from Train station bus-stop to Ta’er monastery (Kumbum monastery), Rate: RMB 5.00 per person
  • By bus : line 2, 9, 12, 13, departure from Xin-Ning-Bus stop | 西宁汽车站 (Add: Xin-Ning Road, No.19) to Ta’er monastery (Kumbum monastery), rate: RMB 5.50
  • By bus : line 3, 4, 16, departure from Guan-Li-Zhan Bus stop | 西宁管理站 (Add: intersection of Nan-chuan East Road and Nan-shan Road) to Ta’er monastery (Kumbum monastery), rate: RMB 5.00