17 May Lanzhou to Xining
The woollen jackets came out today as we climbed to about 1800mtsplus to visit the Taer Tibetan monastery. The flags high on the hill were flapping loudly and as the cold wind whistled around the buildings and temples. This is a practising monastery of about 900 dark red gowned and yellow cap monks. Only photos of the buildings on the outside were allowed and not from the inside. Inside one of the halls there was a brilliant display of butter sculptures so delicate that the only way to conserve them was to place them in large refrigerated cabinets. Each hall or temple was lit by yak butter candles which the monks were constantly replenishing.
The Assembly Hall was heavily garlanded with colourful embroidered hangings and banners, as well as sculptures and murals. As we left 2 monks stood on the top of one of the buildings and sounded horns made from yak horn, heralding the monks to prayer. It was satisfying to see young boy monks skylarking and piggy backing each other on their way to prays.