September 1, 2009

  Dingri  is a small city located 183 km southeast of Lhasa in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. In the 19th century it is said to have contained some 1,000 houses, a bazaar, a gompa and a fort. It is now the capital of Shannan prefecture and the second-largest town in the region.
It is at an elevation of 3,100 meters and has a population of about 52,000. It is only about 4 km to the northeast of the town of Nêdong but they have now basically merged into one city. It is situated near the flank of Mount Gongbori and is home to the ruins of the ancient Gajiu Monastery. It is known as the cradle of Tibetan’s civilization. Samye, Tibet’s first monastery, is located 30 km from Dingri and was founded in 779 CE by King Trisong Detsen.
The 14th century monastery of Dingri, Ganden Chökhorling, was originally Kagyupa but was taken over by the Gelugpas in the 18th century.

About 5 km south of Dingri is Changzhug Monastery founded during the reign of Songtsen Gampo and about 10 km further is Yumbulagang which, according to legend, was built as a palace for the first king, Nyatri Tsenpo, and was the first building in Tibet. There are several hotels and a guesthouse.

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