78-kilometer (48-mile from the check point
entering the Mt Qomonama mentioned before)
trek leads to Rongbuk Monastery, which is
the highest monastery on the earth. Its
altitude is 5,100 meters (16728 feet).
The monastery was built in 1899,
as a Nyingmapa monastery since it was said
that once Padmasambhava, founder of Nyingmapa,
preceded his religious cultivation here.
The monastery destroyed in the Cultural
Revolution, having 8 sub-monasteries including
a nunnery, is gradually restored. It houses
Lamas and nuns in the same monastery. Sakyamuni
and Padmasambhava are enshrined in the small
temple. Pilgrims trek a long way to pay
votive offerings or see lamas playing operas
during big Buddhist days.
There is a hostel in Rongbuk
with100 beds, a dinning room and a store,
where tourists and mountaineers may have
cooked food and instant food, even beer.
300 meters (980 feet) south of the monastery
is the famous Rongbuk Glacier. A distance
of 10 kilometers (6 miles) lies between
the monastery and Everest Base Camp.