Yumbu Lhakhang Palace is located 5 kilometers southeast of Nedong County, in Shannan Prefecture of Tibet. It is a building similar in shape to a blockhouse standing on top of a hill. That is the Yumbu Lhakhang Palace, the oldest palace on that high land built over two thousand years ago for the first Tsampo (king) of the Tubo tribe, although through extension, the palace gradually became a Buddhist monastery.
Located on the east bank of the Yalong River southeast of Tsedang Town, the Yumbu Lakang is famed as the first Tibetan palace. It was originally built for Nyatri Tsenpo who was the first king of Tibet in the 2nd century BC and it has become the Tibetan kings' palace since then. During the reign of Songtsen Gampo, it became the summer palace for Princess Wenchen and him. After Songtsen Gampo moved the capital to Lhasa in the 7th century, the palace became a Gelugpa monastery during the reign of the fifth Dalai Lama.
In Tibetan, Yumbu refers to the female deer. La means the hind leg, and Kang, the palace. To be more specific, the Yunbu Lakang is situated on the Zhaxiciri hill, which resembles the hind leg of a deer. Thus the Yumbu Lakang is called the 'palace on the hind leg of the deer'.
Having a history about 2,100 years, Yumbu Lakang is a three-storied structure consisting of the towers, many chapels, the monks' rooms, and other affiliated buildings. On the first floor is a small hall and a Buddhist chapel. In the chapel are enshrined the statues of Nyatri Tsenpo, Songtsen Gampo and his ministers and officials. On the second floor is a Sutra Chanting Hall. In the hall are enshrined Sakyamuni, the Goddess of Mercy, Maitreya, Tsong Khapa (the founder of the Gelugpa Sect), Padmasambhava and four Vajradharas. On the walls are painted beautiful murals recording the early history of Tibet. The most famous is the one that records Nyatri Tsenpo's arrival from heaven and his stories. Originally, there was a roofed patio and a veranda connecting the towers. They were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).
Legend has it that the first Buddhist sutra introduced to Tibet was in the Yumbu Lakang. During the reign of Lha Totori Nyentsen, the 28th Tibetan king, a book and some other religious objects fell on the roof of the Yumbu Lakang one day. No one knew what they were so that they kept them in the monastery. Many years later, the book was found out to be a Buddhist sutra.
Ga'er spring to the northeast of the Yumbu Lakang is also a must-see destination. It is said that the magic spring can cure many diseases.
Transport: Visitors are recommended to take taxi in Tsedang Town to get there.
Admission Fee:CNY 60
Recommended Time for a Visit: One hour