Princess Wencheng Temple
One of the most famous temples in Kham is the Princess Wencheng Temple found 20km south of Jyekundo . Princess Wencheng, from mainland China, married the famous Tibetan king Songsten Gampo over 1350 years ago. According to history, the princess left modern day Xi'an in the year 640 for Tibet. The next year she married the Tibetan king. The marriage was probably part of a peace treaty between China and Tibet.
Songsten Gampo met princess Wencheng near Ngoring and Kyaring Lakes in Mado (Maduo) county in western Amdo (Qinghai province). From there they continued together to Lhasa. Along the way to Lhasa they stopped for around a month in the Lheba Ravine located about 25kms from the current Wencheng Temple. The princess was well liked by the local Tibetan people. She, along with the entourage of servants who accompanied her from Xi'an, taught the local people how to grow several types of crops. When the king and princess left to continue on their journey to Lhasa, the local people were very sad. The princesses footprints were left on a rock where she often stood. The site quickly became an object of worship. Seventy years later, another princess from China named Jincheng also passed through the same area. She had a temple built in honor of princess Wencheng.
During Losar (Tibetan New Year), many thousands of Tibetan pilgrims walk the kora around the temple. The temple is built along along a mountain side. The mountains surrounding the temple are excellent for hiking. Tens of thousands of Tibetan prayer flags are in the area. It is a must see place if you are in the area.
The easiest way to get to the Princess Wencheng Temple is to hire a van taxi from Jyekundo. It is only 20kms and the road is quite good. You should be able to get a ride out there for between Y50 and Y100 depending on your bargaining skills. If you decide to do some hiking there, it is best to hire a taxi to take you one way and then hitch a ride to go back into town. From the temple, it is less than 2kms to the interesection of the highway leading back to Jyekundo. There are a few monks who live in the area including some hermits who live in caves above the temple.There is a small store in the area selling small snacks and assorted beverages. If you do any hiking here, it is a good idea to stock up on water. The temple sits at 3850m (12,628 feet) and the mountains around it are much higher.