If you ever visit a place on this small mountain range called the “Tibetan plateau,” one of the first things you’ll encounter is an abundance of cultural expressions. Colorful fabrics, Buddhist symbols carved in stones and paintings are on display everywhere. No need for reservation. You can see them all right from the road through the windows of your vehicle.
Your journey will seem much shorter than any brochure might say because you will be enjoying the view of prayer flags in every color, waving high as if they were saying “Welcome” or chöten (stūpa) standing tall in lush valleys wearing pure white, whispering “Hello” to you. Stūpa is a dome-shaped structure erected as a holy place for Buddhists. Yaks, sheep, and cows, business as usual, dot the pastures in the distance, and a feeling of peace of mind begins to envelop you.
Traveling to Rebgong (Reb gong or Rebkong) is no exception. When you see the eight Tibetan auspicious symbols, scripture, Buddha painted on roadside walls, mountain cliffs, and stones, you can interpret them for yourself, “Tashi Delek, you are in Reb gong—the Golden Valley.”
On this particular trip, my little brother and I planned to visit one of the most famous stūpas in the Amdo region, the Gomar Chöten (སྒོ་དམར་མཆོད་རྟེན). It’s about 20 miles outside the Rebgong town, in Gomar, a Monguor village. The giant, 7–story stūpa is part of Gomar monastery, which was originally built around 1741, and about 150 monks practice here.
Stūpas play a vibrant role in Buddhist practices. They are constructed to commemorate visits and gain spiritual benefits. And there are people every day, spinning prayer wheels. The rather small but peacefully beautiful monastery nearby is known for its colorful stūpa.
With those visual feasts along the ride, our road trip went by in a blink of an eye. All too soon, we were at our destination—the Gomar Chöten!