Langmusi - Lhamo Monastery
Introduction and History
Taktsang Lhamo སྟག་ཚང་ལྷ་མོ (known as Langmusi in Chinese ) is widely honored as one of the best small towns in Amdo. It is on the Southern edge of Lequ County approximately 4 hours away from Xiahe/Labrang. While the majority of the town is in Lequ County of Gannan Prefecture, a small portion is on the Sichuan side of the border. The altitude in town is 10,909 ft (3,325 m).
Key Cultural Sites and Observances in Langmusi
Experience the ancient traditions of Kirti Monastery on the Sichuan side and Sertri Monastery on the Gansu side. These “rival” monasteries are the setting for many tales told by generations of nomads and bandits of old.
Kirti Monastery is one of the largest Gelugpa Monasteries in Ngawa Prefecture. It is home to 18 temples with their unique silver roofs rather than the standard gold found in most monasteries, including Sertri on the Gansu side.
The flesh body of the Fifth Lama of Kirti Monastery is still found in a glass covered stupa in a temple on a hill above the main complex. It is over 300 years old.
Sertri Monastery is a larger, wealthier complex that includes many young monk students as well. Beyond Sertri monastery is the sky burial site that made Langmusi popular among many early travelers in the region. These rituals are private and deeply important for families so we strongly urge visitors not to attend.
During Losar, the Tibetan New Year, visitors can observe the sacred Cham dance as well as the unveiling of the giant tangka, though neither is as prominent as the observances in Labrang Monastery.
Adventure Opportunities around Langmusi
The best place for a day hike or even an overnight is Namo Gorge (3300-4000m) which can be accessed at the top end of Kirti monastery on the Sichuan side of town (purchasing a ticket to the monastery is required). The gorge is the source of the White Dragon River and is also home to the Tiger’s Den and Goddess Caves which are great for exploring. It is one of our favorite day hikes in Amdo!
The kora path around Sertri Monastery is not as adventurous but provides great views of the area, perfect for photography.
Contact us in advance to book extended options in the Langmusi region that include multi-day trekking, cycling, mountaineering, and horse trekking.
Best Time of Year to Visit Langmusi
Summer and early Fall are the best time of year to visit due to warmer temperatures. We recommend avoiding peak domestic travel in July and August if you wish to avoid crowding, especially around the monastery.
Our Story with Langmusi
In 2002, after hitching a ride along the road between Gansu and Sichuan, our founder Brian, was dropped at the entrance to the small road that leads down into Langmusi. A local farmer on a tractor was kind enough to take him into town. It was barely daylight and well below freezing on that November morning. He found a place to stay, headed over to Leesha’s for an apple pie and some 8 Treasure Tea before spending the next few days climbing in Namo Gorge. Brian and his family repeat this at least once a year (aside from the hitch hiking) and we have been guiding clients here for many years.