Set at 4,000 metres up on the harsh Sichuan grasslands, the island nunnery of Yarchen Gar is home to over 10,000 nuns. It is the site of the world’s largest gathering of practicing Tibetan Buddhists, drawn here for the chance to hear the teachings of Asong Tulku, a highly revered spiritual leader. With more Chinese converting to Tibetan Buddhism, the remote region is witnessing improvements to its infrastructure, making it more accessible to intrepid travellers like recent visitor, photographer Dave Stamboulis.
The easiest way to reach Yarchen Gar is to hire a private taxi from Chengdu. The breathtaking mountain journey to Garze, the nearest city to Yarchen Gar, takes anywhere from six to nine hours, depending on the state of the highway (currently being upgraded). From Garze, it’s a one hour trip up onto the plateau.