Kandze Monastery | 甘孜寺

Kandze Monastery (or Garze monastery), a Gelug Pa sect monastery, is the largest Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Built in the first year of Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty (1662). It was founded by Dalai Lama V’s disciple with a history of nearly five hundred years. Its full name is Kandze Tashi Nuobu Monastery, also referred as “Kandze Monastery” in short, meaning white and beautiful. It is named after the white stone on the monastery site.

Kandze Monastery is situated on hillside in the northern part of Garze County with a typical Tibetan and Chinese Han architectural style. The whole building faces south with construction area of 197,000 square meters and covering an area of 285,000 square meters. Overlooking the whole city of Garze County.

There are about 3,300 monks and lamas in Kandze Monastery in 1957. It has 13 sub-monasteries; and had several commerce business in Lhasa, Chengdu, India.In 1958, most of the monks and lamas resumed secular life. The monastery was demolished during the Cultural Revolution in 1967.Then after being rebuilt in 1980, it now houses about 400 monks and lamas. It was approved for opening in 1981 and being restored its original appearance.

The main building of the temple consists of a Main Assembly Hall, 10 small Assembly halls, and one Maitreya hall. The Dratsangs are evenly distributed around the temples being compact and well organized architecture and a rhythmic pattern. Inside the Main Assembly Hall, the architectures are magnificent with carved beams and painted rafters. The murals are colorful and lifelike. Below the monastery, there are much more dense residential groups, which surround the

The Main Assembly Hall is earth-wood structure with four floors. The first floor is the Great Hall; The second floor is the Hall of God of protection; The third floor is the Hall of Maitreya Buddha. The fourth floor is enshrined the Jowo Repoche whom was invited from India.

On the second floor, there are a large number of Tibetan knives and old muskets in the Hall of God of protection. It is said that the local Tibetans offered those to the monastery to express their determination of Not to Kill.

Kandze Monastery has now inherited the third generation of Shangen Living Buddha, which began from 1846 and passed down to now the thrid generation. The first lineage was one of the three candidates of the 11th Dalai Lama. After the 11th Dalai Lama was certified by the Lot-drawing from a golden urn,one of the unsuccessful children became the 1st generation of Shangen Living Buddha,which has close connection with Garzi Kongsa landlord family.

Address & Contact

Add : 2 kilometer north from Garze City| 甘孜县城西北约2km处
Contact : +86 836 752-6176 / 752-3637

Opening hour

08:00 am – 17:00 pm

Entrance fee

RMB 10.00 per person


3,890 meters above sea level

Major Events

Gu-Duo Monk Dance Puja from 28th to 29th day on the 12st month of Tibetan calendar

Gu-Duo Monk Dance Puja is the mysterious puja about to repel evil. The main purpose of this ancient Gu-Duo Puja is to banish the bad luck in the past year, and turn evil into righteousness. Pray for No disease, No disaster on people and livestock in the coming year, and the weather is good, and Rich harvest. Gu-Duo Monk Dance generally lasts two days on 28th and 29th days of December of Tibetan Calendar. On the first day of this festival, there will be 8 programs (dances). On the 2nd day, the programs are to throw exorcism objects, and to throw “Sui Wu” (“Sui” refers to the disaster caused by evil, “Wu” means object; “Sui Wu” means a object that brings bad luck caused by evil )

As early as a month before this festival, the monks will take a certain amount of time to practice the Holy Mask dance while doing daily religious work.
Under the guidance of the head coach of the monastery, every monk whom wear the mask and dance shall understand how to play the gesture operation,dance steps,the purpose of the weapon and secret spell.

The festival begins around 9:00 in the morning. The monks of the whole temple sit in rows , facing south, and the front row is the guardian of honor. The local Tibetan and visitors are allowed to sit at in the east, south, and west. When the dancing monks appear, the local people take off their hats with enthusiasm, fold their hands together and prayed silently. In the sound of the music,the monks hold the sword and the religious appliance, dancing while walking side by side and entering the venue slowly

“Doma” is an item that is made of Tsampa with form similar to a child with age of 3 or 4; and there is red pigment in its abdomen; After being cut it is like bloodshed. “Doma” is one of the “Sui Wu”. When the monks enter the venue, they will surround the “Doma” to do all kinds of rituals; and then having the “Doma” stabbed by the 5 Guardian of God from 5 directions of East, West, South, North and Middle

Around 12:00 at noon, the Puja will end. In the sound of Religious music, the abbot sways the bell by hand,the monks sing the secret scriptures. Monks and local Tibetan take “Doma” and other “Sui Wu” together to the gulley where people cannot see the monastery when they look back, and burned it with fire. At this point, the annual ancient Gu-Duo Monk Dance Puja will be completed.

How to get there

Kandze Monastery is located at the hill north side of Garze County, by foot, it is about 2 kilometers walk, by taxi you will have to detour and take about 10 minutes to get to this site from center of Garze town.

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