Sumtseling Monastery or known as “Little Potala” according to its appearance, is the largest and most significant Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan located 5 kilometers away from the Shangri-La Old Town.
Construction of the monastery began in 1679 and was completed two years later. Today, it is the home for more or less 700 Lamas for their monastic lives. The monastery seems like a group of ancient castles and is composed of two lamaseries, Zhacang and Jikang.
The gilded copper roof endows the monastery with strong Tibetan features and the 108 (an auspicious number in Buddhism) columns downstairs also feature it with characteristics of Han nationality. The main halls in the monastery are magnificent, and on both the left and right sides are wonderful frescos, depicting Buddhist tales and legends. The inside-halls are exquisite with cloisters running through. The cloisters are all decorated with beautiful sculptures and consummate frescos.
Annually, on November 29th of the Lunar calendar, the Gedong Festival is celebrated here, and the Lamas and devout believers pray to the gods in their ways.