Dazhao Lamasery, Inner Mongolia
“It was late afternoon, at the start of winter. I’d spent a few hours wandering the few remaining streets of the adjacent old town, immediately to the west of the temple"
Published on Nov 8, 2011
“It was late afternoon, at the start of winter. I’d spent a few hours wandering the few remaining streets of the adjacent old town, immediately to the west of the temple. The city owes its existence to the Dazhao Lamasery. When it was first constructed the city grew around Dazhao, radiating out from its walls, creating life on the edge of the steppe. Now, as in most cities across China, redevelopment and gentrification run rampant and Hohhot’s old quarter has suffered accordingly. The old town, Guihuacheng, apparently translates as ‘city beyond civilization’ and is fast disappearing. I’d reached Dazhao just before the sun dipped below the horizon. Here inside, the courtyards revealed ornate pavilions with the occasional monk flitting through a courtyard, lost in his thoughts. I was one of only a few tourists. Other monks perched on steps chattered among themselves savouring the last of the sunshine. I was captured by the rooflines on the pavilions, and the influence of the Chinese design. The pray flags, caught in the stillness, made a colourful addition to the graphic composition, the cloudless brilliant blue sky a perfect backdrop.”
Photographer Philip Gostelow