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Tibet Cities

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Chamdo (Qamdo), population about 86.280 (1999) in Kham in the eastern Tibet Autonomous Region, is Tibet's third largest city (after Lhasa and Shigatse). It is located about 480 km (as the crow flies) from Lhasa, on the road the distance covers 1120 km (southern route) or 1030 km (northern route). It is at an altitude of 3,230 meters.

At the turn of the 20th century it had a population of about 12,000, a quarter of whom were monks. Chamdo, and the region around, it is the centre for the fierce Khampa tribesmen.

Galden Jampaling Monastery
Chamdo was visited by Tsongkhapa in 1373 who suggested a monastery be built there. Galden Jampaling Monastery was constructed between 1436 and 1444 by a disciple of Tsongkhapa, Jansem Sherab Zangpo. It is also known as the Changbalin or Qiangbalin Si Monastery. At its height it contained five main temples and housed some 2,500 monks. It was destroyed in 1912 but the main hall (which was used as a prison) and two other buildings survived, and it was rebuilt in 1917 after the Tibetan army retook Chamdo. It now houses about 800 monks.

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