Xiahe has one of the largest functioning Tibetan Buddhist temples outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) with 1,200 monks. Running around the perimeter is a succession of prayer wheels that make up the kora. As you walk (clockwise, always clockwise) around the kora spinning the prayer wheels with your right hand you run into many elderly Tibetan pilgrims mumbling and chanting prayers as they walk. As accessible as the place is it is not very crowded. These prayer wheels are not all plated with gold or inscribed with elaborate carvings as those you find in Shangri-la but they are the very essence of authenticity and the creaking wheels together with the smell of incense and the faint ringing of bells in the wind will not soon leave you.
By AFAR Traveler
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Renmin E St, Xiahe Xian, Gannan Zangzuzizhizhou, Gansu Sheng, China