Sêrtar / Serthar County,
Sichuan Province, P.R. China
Sêrtar County (or Serthar County; Tibetan: གསེར་ཐར། ; pinyin: Sèdá Xiàn) is a county of Sichuan Province, China. It is one of the 18 counties under the administration of the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, covering some 9340 square kilometres. Sêrtar, which means "golden horse" in Tibetan, lies in the southeast of the Tibetan Plateau and in the historical region of Kham.
Sêrtar comprises 17 towns and 66 villages. It is home to the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute, the largest Tibetan Buddhistinstitute in the world. The institute, which was founded by lama Jigme Phuntsok in 1980 and started off with just a few monks, now houses tens of thousands of monks and pilgrims from around the world, which constitute the vast majority of the Sêrtar population. Most monks spend six to 13 years completing their training. The institute, divided into two main segments and spread over just a few square kilometres, is located in a valley and around 15 kilometres from the town of Sêrtar. A permit is occasionally required for non-Chinese nationals to enter the institute.
Sêrtar is remotely located and requires more than half a day's driving if travelling from Chengdu via Maerkang. It is also possible to travel from Xining, the capital of Qinghai. Sêrtar is at an altitude of around 4,100 metres above sea level. Temperatures range from 30 degrees Celsius in the summer and -25 degrees Celsius in the winter.