Is it true as one travel writer espoused: "Traveling, one accepts everything; indignation stays at home?"
This is Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in China's Yunnan province and sometimes referred to as the Little Potala Palace. Built in 1679, it is blessed and cursed by being only 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from the tourist city of Shangrila. So Chinese tourists flock to this spiritual site. Check out the wad of visitors climbing the stairs in the right background.
Among the swirling, camera-toting tourists, hundreds of monks try to conduct their lives and spiritual rituals.
Truthfully, I had trouble suppressing an uneasy indignation. Perhaps I'm bringing my own cultural baggage. Yes, tourism financially supports the monastery. But to me the balance between spirituality and tourism was like oil and water.
For some, the monastery was simply a Hollywood prop.
This lady focused her Canon camera on her shoes.
Is my baggage preventing me from accepting the reality of Chinese Culture?