There is only one Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Shaanxi Province: the Guangren Lama Temple. Nestled into the north-western corner of Xian’s city wall, this temple was built in 1705 as a temporary residence for the Grand Lamas for when they passed through this area on their way to Beijing to meet with the emperors. The architecture of the temple, a mix between Chinese and Tibetan, is a tribute to the long standing cultural relations between the Tibetans and the Han people. White stupas, Buddha statues, prayer wheels and hundreds of colorful prayer flags fluttering in the wind are combined with the typical East-Asian hip-and-gable roofs, elegant carvings and timber framework.
The temple isn’t massive and covers an area of only about 2.6 acres, but it has a lot to offer. The first thing visitors see is the big Mountain Gate, an arch decorated in colorful paintings. From there, they pass along a stone wall carved with Buddhas through the Zhao Bi, a pavilion with the imperial stele and two stone wells on each side of it. Additional treasures of the Guangren Lama Temple include the Lotus Throne inside Devajara Hall, which originated in the Tang Dynasty, rows of golden prayer wheels as well as hand engraved gold mantras, ancient inscribed tablets and several over one hundred year old cypresses, redbud and clove trees.
The Guangren Lama Temple can be visited every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. To get there, take bus number 509 or 712 to the Guang Ren Temple stop and you will find the temple right next to the city wall.