We drove to Xining and visited the Kumbun or Taer Si monastery. This is the Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery dates back to 1577 and is the birthplace of Tsongkhapa, the founder of the sect. We noticed snow on the distant mountains en route.
Monks still live here and many of the temples are open to the public. The first thing we noticed is that there are pilgrims prostrating on the ground inside the complex. Complete with knee pads, aprons and gloves and wooden boards on their hands, they walk 3 steps, lie flat on their stomach and pray. Than stand, walk another 3 steps and do it again. This is very important to them and the monastery is considered very holy.
Wandering around the complex we noticed the prayer bells and the bright colors that adorned the buildings both inside and out.
The Yak butter scripture temple contained sculptures carved out of yak butter!