Wudangzhao Lamasery is the largest and best-preserved Tibetan
Lamasery in Inner Mongolia. It is located 70 km (44 miles)
northeast from Baotou City, at Wudanggou Valley surrounded by
Wudangzhao was built in 1749, and was modeled after Tashilhunpo
Lamasery in Shigatse, Tibet. Wudang means willow, and Zhao means
lamasery in Mongolian language, this is because willows were
luxuriant in the valley at that time. Wudangzhao has a Tibetan name
Bada Gele, meaning white lotus. In the year of 1756, the then
Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty bestowed a Chinese name on the
Lamasery – Guangjue Si (Guangjue Temple).
The lamasery is a group of traditional Tibetan architecture with
white walls and flattened roofs, dotted about at the mountain slope
of 1 mile long, covering an area of about 50 acres. The
construction layout is quite unique. Usually temples are built like
courtyards with enclosing walls. However, buildings of Wudangzhao
adopt an open layout, with each building being independent and
distributed irregularly at the mountain slope and the valley.
Buildings center around six main halls, which form six complexes,
with three living Buddha residences, one funeral hall for storing
ashes of the living Buddhas in the past, and many residences for
The three-floor Suguqin Hall is the main hall and the largest in
the lamasery. This is the main assembly hall where all the monks
gather to chant sutras or have meetings. According to statistics,
there are over 150,000 Buddhist statues at Wudangzhao, with sizes
rang from several meters tall to inches small, made of materials
like gold, copper, wood and even mud.
There is also a large collection of Buddhist arts in the lamasery
vividly depicting folklores, figures, animals and plants as well as
Buddhist stories, which provide precious resources for studies of
Tibetan, Mongolian ethnic religions and culture.
Since 1763, there have been seven living Buddhas at Wudangzhao, and
the last one died in 1955. Their ashes were stored in the funeral
hall. In its prime time, there were over 1,200 monks at Wudangzhao.
Besides for Buddhist activities and pilgrimage, Wudangzhao is a
famous lecturing lamasery in Inner Mongolia. It has schooling for
monks to learn sutras and study Buddhism.
Among the many Buddhist activities here, the most popular one has
to be the temple fair. Every year from July 25 till August 1 on
lunar calendar, all the monks at Wudangzhao will chant sutra at
Suguqin Hall. At dusk, the monks will walk around the lamasery
holding prayer wheels, blowing religious pipes and beating
sheepskin drums. Pilgrims and tourists all gather here to watch
this magnificent scene and take part in the celebrating activities.