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Drepung Monastery

Drepung Monastery, Lhasa

As the largest monastery in Tibet, Drepung Monastery covers an area of 250,000 square meters (about 62 acres) at the foot of Mt. Gambo Utse, some five kilometers (about 3 miles) west of Lhasa. Known as the most important monastery of Gelugpa, Drepung Monastery was built in 1416 and was the seat of five Dalai Lamas before the Fifth Dalai Lama moved to Potala Palace.

In the middle of Drepung Monastery lies the Coqen Hall. As the main structure of Drepung Monastery, it is supported by 183 wooden pillars. Thousands of thangkas and murals representing holy and mystical are on the walls. Statues of Buddha are vivid and delicate; the stupa-tombs of the third and fourth Dalai Lama are also resplendent and magnificent.

Thangkas of Buddha unfolding, Lhasa

Another construction in Drepung Monastery, namely the Ganden Potrang was built in 1530 during the reign of the Second Dalai Lama. Since then, the third, fourth and fifth Dalai Lamas also lived and worked here. So Ganden Potrang was the political center at that time. Rare sutras, exquisite religious vessels, majestic statues of Buddha and beautiful murals are also well preserved. Ganden Potrang is comprised of three rows of buildings. The front courtyard is about 400 square meters (0.1 acre). Monks perform Tibetan Opera here annually during the Shoton Festival. During this time, monks of the Drepung Monastery also unveil giant thangka of Sakyamuni on Mt. Gambo Utse. Both pilgrims and visitors alike can enjoy and appreciate the religious atmosphere thoroughly.

There are also four Zhacangs (or Tantric College) in Drepung Monastery. Deyang, Loseling, Ngagpa and Gomang have trained many lamas for the Drepung Monastery, as well as the other monasteries of Gelugpa, with a majority of the most learned lamas graduating from here.

Admission Fee: CNY 55
Opening Hours: 09:10 to 12:00
Recommended Time for a Visit: Three hours
Bus Route: The best way is to take a taxi which costs about 20

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