Guandi Gesar Temple

Guan Yu refers to a Han general of the Three Kingdoms periods (220-280), but in Lhasa there is also a temple to Guan Yu, demonstrating the diversity of religion in Lhasa.

In 1793, Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong sent General Fukang to fight the Gorkhas when the later invaded Tibet. After achieving victory, General Fukang’an was on his way home at the head of his army when he stopped in Lhasa. The general believed that he had won the battle in a dangerous environment and hostile climate mainly because of spiritual assistance from the Han General Guan Yu. The rank and file of his army raised 7,000 taels of silver, and General Fukang’an and the Prince Regent joined forces to use the money to build the Temple of Guan Yu on top of Mountain Pamari (also known as the Mopan). Guan Yu closely resembled King Gesar, who is revered by the Tibetans, in appearance, and the Han general is also referred to as Gesar Lhakang. For more than 200 years, the Tibetans have carried out divinations in front of the statue of General Guan Yu. Some bring chickens to the temple that are then released, and the area surrounding the temple is full of chickens scratching for food.

According to folklore, Guan Yu’s weapon was a guan dao (resembling a medieval a halberd) named “Green Dragon Crescent Moon Blade,” which was said to weigh a hefty 41 kilograms (about 90 pounds).

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