Feilaisi Monastery in Deqin County, Diqing
Feilai Temple was originally built in 1614 during Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with a history of 385 years, facing the main peak of the Meili Snow Mountain - Kawagebo Peak, the highest in Yunnan Province. It is famous for its viewing deck for amazing scenes of the magnificent sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain.
Attraction Type: Snow Mountain
Chinese Name: 飞来寺(Pinyin: Feilaisi)
Best Time to Visit: From January to May(Meili Snow Mountain Sunrise: From October to December)
Recommended Visiting Time: 1-3 Hours
Open Hours: 08:00-17:00
Admission Fee: CNY 60
Altitude: 3,400 meters
Location: at the roadside of Yunan-Tibet Highway, 10 kilometers from county seat of Deqin County, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province
Why is Feilai Monastery So Special?
Feilaisi Monastery is a place for Tibetans to pay homage to the sacred mountains. The monastery also serves as a center for many of the activities and festivals held by local Buddhists. Facing the main peak of the Meili Snow Mountain – Kawagebo Peak, it is famous for its viewing deck for amazing scenes of the sun rising over snow covered mountains. Most travelers and photo-lovers choose to gather in this location also for the convenient parking and accommodations.
Where is Feilai Monastery – Location
Feilaisi Monastery is located at the roadside of Yunan-Tibet Highway, 10 kilometers from county seat of Deqin County, Diqing (Shangri-la) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province.
Legend about Feilai Monastery
There is a legend that the monastery was built by a Sakyamuni Buddha who flew here from Tibet. The legend goes like this, the original selected building site for the temple was 2 kilometers away from the present one. All materials had been prepared and piled up on the site. However, the night before the formal construction, main building materials, like pillars and girders were disappeared without any trace. Later, monks found them erecting on the present site in regular; they believed it was arranged by the Buddha, so they changed the site and named the temple as Flying Temple. Today, if you stand in Douwen Village and look across at Feilai Temple, you will notice that the temple does have a tendency to fly.
There is a spring in the front of the pool in Feilai Temple. It’s said that the water has the effect of retaining youthful looks and keeping longevity for most abbots of the temple lived long. So tourists coming here all rush to drink the spring water and also take some bottles for their family.
History and Culture
Feilai Temple was originally built in 1614 during Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with a history of 385 years. Covering 1500 square meters, it was built according to the mountain terrain with architecture at random discretion. It has an advantage of a commanding position overlooking the mountain and the village.
This is the place for Tibetans to pay homage to the sacred mountains and it is said that circumambulators must get the key in Qidengge. Circumambulators who are in inside circumambulation must get the key for the Yongzongbajiu Temple on the bank of the Lancang River as well as the the key in Qidengge. In recent years,various Buddhist activities have been held at the Wulongding Culture Square and Feilai Temple. It is a holy land for vacations, weariness relief, meditation and soul cultivation.
The whole temple is consists of Zisun (Descendants) Hall, the Hall of God, Haichao (Sea Tide Hall), Liangxiang (Wing-rooms) Hall, Liang’er (Two Ears) Hall, and Sipei (Side) Hall, which has the characteristics of three religions- Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The buildings are distinctively scattered, with halls and houses echoing with one another.
The most impressive feature lies in the sculpture art of the main construction of Feilai Temple – Haichao Hall. The construction structure of the hall is of a single eave hanging on the top and seven pieces of wood supporting the beam. With a horizontal distance of 3 Jian, the beam is of a clear and regular structure. It is made of a large round piece of wood.
With simple head, the peripheral columns are standing on the Sumeru Throne. Waist engraved with characters, flowers and other embossed designs, beautiful, unique wood carvings under the eave, numerous partition doors in front of the hall and windows with exquisite patterns and experienced craftsmanship.
Base on its terrain, the main hall of Feilai Temple is hewed into a flat and forms a firm and splendid mountain wall. The main sculpture of the hall – the Sculpture of the Haichao Dragon King Sending His Daughter to get Married was carved out of the mountain and rocks. On the left of the sculpture are the Eighteen Arhats with various expressions and gestures, and the characters of the Pilgrimage to the West on the right.
How to Get there?
By scheduled bus: Tourists can take a scheduled bus from Deqin County to Mingyong Village and get off at Feilai Temple.
By car-rental: Tourists can also rent a car from Deqin County to Feilai Temple. It takes around 20 minutes.
Best Time to Go
The best time to visit Feilai temple is winter and spring time from January to May. While from October to December is the best time to shoot the golden sunrise of Meli Snow Mountain.
Accommodate at Feilai Temple
As the temple is located right beside roadside of Yunan-Tibet Highway, it is also the best place to see the sun rising over snow covered Meili snow mountains. More and more tourists come here to view and take photos. Therefore, hotels and inns of different standards and types come out with wide price ranges to meet the needs of all kinds of tourists.
Yubeng is a secluded small Tibetan village tucked away at the foot of Meili Snow Mountain in Deqin county, the northwestern corner of Yunnan Province. It is only accessible by foot or horse/mule. But the trip, however arduous, is worth it. Yubeng is divided into an upper and a lower section. Both parts offer fabulous views of the Mei Li Snow Mountains. Lower Yubeng is smaller, quieter and closer to the lakes and waterfalls that you will likely visit during your stay.
It is called the Lancang River after it reaches Changdu. The river runs south until it leaves China at the Nanla Bayout of Yunnan Province and therefrom changes its name from the Lancang River to the Mekong River. The river finally empties into the Pacific Ocean in the south of Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam.
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.
Useful Travel Tips
► Bring enough cash with you for there is no bank and post office around Feilai Temple.
► Tourists can see the sunrise of Meili Snow Mountain from Feilaisi observation deck rather than Feilai Temple.
► The sunrise time at the Feilai Temple is at about 6 am around the summer solstice, and at about 8 am around the winter solstice.
► Only between the lunar mid-July and September can tourists have the opportunity of shooting the scenery of the moon hanging over the Meri Snow Mountain at sunrise.
► If you plan to take the photos of sunrise, know the sunrise time in advance, and keep warm.