Dongzhulin Monastery in Deqin County, Diqing

Why is Dongzhulin Monastery So Special?

Dongzhulin Monastery is the largest one of the three Gelu Sect monasteries in Deqin County and one of the religious cultural activity centers in Kangnan District. The housed treasures include gilded Maitreya , statue of White Drolma, Buddhas of Three Worlds, the ruler of the hell, Manjusri,  18 Arhats statues and Tangkar scroll paintings depicting Buddhist stories. There are also a great number of Buddhist stupas and religious instruments and props, being a Buddhist cultural treasure house for the pilgrims.

Where is Dongzhulin Monastery – Location

Dongzhulin Monastery is located in Benzilan Town of Deqin County, 105 kilometers away from Shangri-La City. It is about 150.2 km to Tiger Leaping Gorge, 119.1 km to White Water Terraces, and 37.9 km to Shika Snow Mountain. With an altitude of 3,000 meters above the sea level, the monastery is geographically located in the low area in the back of Baimang Snow Mountain. With orderly-distributing architecture complex, the lofty monastery can be mistakenly deemed a town when looked from the distance.

History and Culture

Dongzhulin Monastery was built in 1667, the 6th year during the reign of Emperor Kang Xi of Qing Dynasty and named “Chong-Chong-Gang Monastery” previously that means a monastery by a crane lake. It was a Kagyupa tradition monastery, and converted to Gelupa and merged with other 7 small monasteries, then becoming Dongzhulin Monastery. In the late Qing Dynasty, there had been over 700 lamas and 10 Living Buddhas in this monastery.

Dongzhulin is not as famous as Songzanlin, but more popular with the local Tibetans. During the Cultural Revolution it was destroyed and the restoration was worked out in 1985. It has several “living” Buddhas and each year the Mask Dancing Ceremony attracts thousands of followers. 


The Assembly Hall of Dongzhulin Monastery is designed in earth and wooden structure with 4 floors and 82 thick pillars. On the first floor, Tsongkhapa and his two disciples named Damarenqing and Kezhujie are enshrined. Some other enshrined Buddhism deities on the same floor are Sakyamuni, Avalokitecvara (Goddess of Mercy), Bhodisattva Manjusri, Bhodisattva Samantabhadra and Drolma. The 2nd and 3rd floors mainly serve as chanting hall, Buddhist chapels and chambers for pilgrims. Each floor is magnificently decorated.

The monastery also enshrines a 6.8 meter high, gilded bronze, statue of seated Buddha of Qiangba(Maitreya), and a 10.5 meter tall statue of Sakyamuni, gifts from the Sera Monastery in Lhasa. It also houses a huge Tangkar, which is 8.5 meters long and 5.2 meters wide, and is mostly unfolded on the Gedong Festival.

How to Get There?

By Bus

There are buses running from Shangrila to Deqin, tourists can take off at the Dongzhulin Monastery. 

By Car-rental

Renting a car to Dongzhulin Monastery from Shangrila is also available. 

Nearby Attractions

Great Bend of Jinsha River

Also called the Moon Bay, the bend is 15 km north of Benzilan Township of Deqin County. Jinsha River, the upper reach of the Yangtze River, is blocked by mountains on its way southward, and a hairpin turn has thus been formed as a natural wonder.

Baima Snow Mountain

Rich in animal and plant resources, Baimang Snow Mountain is recognized as a “Kingdom of Animals and Plants in a Cold Temperate Mountain”. In the region, there are 10 kinds of plants under special state protection, such as Circaeaster agrestis and Pseudotsuga forrestii Craib, and more than 10 kinds of animals under special state protection, such as Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys, clouded leopards and lesser pandas.

Meili Snow Mountain

Meili Snow Mountain is one of the most sacred mountains of Tibetan Buddhism. In the 1930s, they were praised by American scholars as the most beautiful mountains in the world. Meili Snow Mountain boasts numerous snow-clad ridges and peaks, thirteen of which are more than 6,000 meters above the sea level. The highest peak Kawagebo, which rises to 6,740 metres, has never been summited.

Songzanlin Monastery

Songzanlin Monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple complex in Yunnan Province. It is called the Little Potala Palace. In 1993, it was listed as a Key Provincial Protection Unit of Cultural Relics by the government of Yunnan Province. It is said that the Fifth Dalai Lama decided the location though divination and gave the name—Gedansongzanlin. At its height, the monastery housed 2,000 monks. Now about 700 monks live there or around the region.

Useful Travel Tips

►Walk the chalks. No smoking, No noise-making, No pointing or touching the statue of Buddha and Dharma in the Monastery.

►It’s better to get there by car-rental due to fewer buses available.

► On every August 27 – August 29 on the Tibetan calendar, tourists can see a huge Tangkar, which is 8.5 meters long and 5.2 meters wide.

Tours including Dongzhulin Monastery

2 Days Kawa Karpo Meili Snow Mountain Tour from Shangri-La

5 Days Shangrila Discovery with Meili Snow Mountain Pilgrimage

7 Days Shangrila Meili Snow Mountain and Yubeng Village Trekking Tour

7 Days the Upper Yangtze River Rafting Tour from Deqin to Lijiang

11 Days Yunnan Classic Tour with Meili Snow Mountain Pilgrimage

12 Days Yunnan Three Parallel Rivers Overland Tour with Biluo and Meili Snow Mountains