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Ghomar Village and Monastery

Ghomar a brief history

Ghomar, was established in 1350 as temple and then in the 1600s as a monastery, an artistic branch of Rongwu Monastery. The head lama during its conversion to a monastery was Shartsang Kaldhan Gyatso (1607-1677). On the grounds of the monastery in addition to the monk’s residential compounds are the Future (Maitreya) Buddha Temple, the prayer or assembly hall, the protector Deity Temple, a print house and a large Stupa.  At the time of publication there were 130 monks at the monastery, half of them studying art and the other half studies chants and mantras. Those studying the chants have more than 300 that they must learn to say and write. The present Head Lama, Drak Kar Ngakram Pa was born near Qinghai lake; he is on his 9th re-incarnation and established Tuk Mo Monastery (which can bee seen from Ghomar looking north down the valley on the east side) in the 12th or 13th century in one of his previous incarnations.  
Shartsang Kaldhan Gyatso handed over authority to one of his students, who was also a reincarnation, Shangluo Lama, also known as Ghomar Tantric Siddha. Shangluo Lama was the 1st of seven holy persons born in Ghomar foretold by Shartsang Kaldan Gyatso; while he was chanting in the Ghomar prayer hall with other lamas and monks seven beads from his rosary or mala fell to the floor and this lead to his prediction of the seven holy persons.
The Cultural Revolution saw a period of serious misfortune for Ghomar Monastery. The army destroyed all of the statues, the Jiantang or wall paintings, (some were painted  directly on the walls and others were painted like a tangka on cloth and hung from the walls of the prayer hall. Hundreds of prayer wheels were destroyed. Also destroyed were stone images that 3 brothers had carved with greatskill in the late 1600s; these were presented to Shartsang Kaldhan Gyatso when he was making one of his regular trips to Rongwu Monastery. The art of Luodrui, the great master artist at Ghomar was also destroyed or stolen during the Cultural revolution. Luodrui was the private artist of Champa Pantrita and Lobsang Longrik Gyatso (the 5th Dali Lama).  In 1980, Yarshong Rinpoche organized and re-opened the monastery. There were only 17 surviving monks at that time, among them there were 5 still alive in 2006.

Ghomar's buildings

The large Stupa is the largest in the Amdo region, taking 5 years to build and the second largest Stupa in Tibet. It has 5 floors rising to a height of 125 feet (38 meters). The ground floor has 281 brass prayer wheels surrounding the base in the covered walk way. The ground floor is 16,170 square feet (1500 square meters) with an inner open garden or court yard on the south side entrance. The top dome of the Stupa houses hundreds of scripture books in the upper part of the dome and below these there are clothes, shoes pillows and blankets belonging to the Panchen Lama and Yarshong Rinpoche among others.
         Looking west from the Stupa, left to right (south to north) is the Protector Temple, the new prayer or assembly hall, the Maitreya Temple and the former residence of the high lama. North of this are abandoned residences of monks. These were abandoned when the village residential compounds were built close to the monastery on the north side: the monks had a hard time hearing the horns calling them to prayer and gatherings due to the noise from the encroaching village. Of interesting note when one enters the main monastery compound ar the collection of animal jaw bones with Tibetan inscriptions on them.

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