Six Most Popular Monasteries in Tibet – You May Like to Explore

Sakya Monastery

Lies 143km to the southwest of Shigatse and it is the center of the Sakya order of the Tibetan Buddhism.The monastery was founded in 1073 by Knochok Gyalpo and during the rule of the Sakyapas the relationship between Tibet and China was established. Sakyapas rulers reigned over Tibet for nearly a hundred years from 13th – 14th century. Many of its priceless images, frescos, statues holy scriptures remaining today date back to the time of its founding.

Tashilunpo Monastery

Founded in 1447 by Dendun Drup, the first Dalai Lama. It is the seat of the Panchen Lama who is second to the Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy. The Abbot of Tashiliunpo was believed to be a manifestation of the Buddha Amitabha and the fourth in line of incarnate lamas who would hence forth be referred to by the title of Panchen Rinpoche, Tashilhunpo has one of the world’s largest statues, a nine storied gilded bronze statue of Maitriya, the future Buddha.

Sera Monastery

Once it was the second largest of all monasteries in Tibet. Sera “Enclosure of Wild Rose ” was founded in 1419 by a disciple of Tsong Khapa. At its peak it housed over 7000 monks and was famous for its warrior monks, the “Dob-Doa ” A visit to Ngawa chanting ball to see the remarkable murals in the Drezme college’s chanting Hall is not to be missed.

Jolkhang Temple

Situated in the heart of old Lhasa and was built as a gift by the Chinese princes Wen Cheng on the occasion of her wedding to the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gompo. Surrounding the Jolkhang Temple is the bustling Bharkhor market place which is the religious and social focus of Lhasa.

Shigatse Monastery

Shigatse Is the second largest town in Tibet and the capital of Tsang, lying 254km west of Lhasa at an altitude of 281Otn.

Drepung Monastery

Drepung lies 8km west of Lhasa on the main road it is reached by a 3km steep unpaired road. Its name Drepung in Tibetan means “Rice Heap “and it is the biggest and the richest of all monasteries in Tibet. This monastery is said to be the largest monastery in the world,at its peak it housed over 10,000 monks who were governed by 7,700 subsidiary monasteries which were divided into four colleges each with its chanting ball, dormitories, kitchens and offices. It was founded in 1416 by the disciple of Je Tsonkhapa founder of the Yellow Hat Gelukpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The second, third and fourth Dalai Lamas lived and were entombed here. The entire monastic communities assemble only for special ceremonies and festivals. Today about 400 monks live at the monastary.On the approach to Drepung, you will see Nechung Temple,home of the State Oracle the present oracle lives in India.