Drepung Monastery-tour in Lhasa

Tibet Tour / Drepung Monastery-tour in Lhasa

Drepung Monastery

Located on 10 kilometers west of Lhasa City, Drepung Monastery is a Tibetan Gelugpa Buddhist Temple. Together with Ganden Monastery and Sera Monastery, it is considered as one of the great three Gelugpa temples of Lhasa. Drepung Monastery was founded in 1416 by the disciple of the founder of Gelug, Tashi Bandan. In the past, the temple held more than 10,000 monks. With 141 manors and more than 540 pastures, it was the largest temple in Tibetan Buddhism as well as the highest-ranking monastery in the Gelug Sect.

drepung monastery

drepung monastery


1 Brief introduction


Established time: 1416

Location: Lhasa City

Characteristics: the highest-ranking temple in the Gelug Sect

Recommended tourist time: 2-3 hours

Ticket price: RMB 50

Opening hours: 09:00am ~14:00pm

The best time to visit: the whole year


2 The history of Drepung Monastery


drepung monastery

drepung monastery

Drepung Monastery built-in 1416 by the disciple of the founder of Gelug, Tashi Bandan. In 1409, Master Tsongkhapa successfully founded a great meeting in Jokhang Temple. And in the same year, he advocated the establishment of the Ganden Monastery in Lhasa. It showed that the new sect of the Gelugpa founded since then. So Drepung Monastery is the mother temple of the Dalai Lama.

In 1464, Drepung Monastery established another temple to teach Buddhist classics. The Lama in the Drepung Monastery is very friendly. If you can invite them to visit the temple, you will receive many gains from them. Drepung Monastery covers an area of about 250,000 square meters and is large in scale. Most of the famous lamas in Tibet have studied here. At the peak of the time, there are nearly 10,000 monks in the Drepung Monastery. It is the largest monastery of Lamaism. The fifth Dalai Luosang Gyatso had lived in the Drepung Monastery before being enshrined in the Qing Dynasty. Since the Dalai Lama has the Drepung Monastery as the mother monastery, Drepung Monastery has the highest status among of Gelugpa monasteries.


3 Highlights in Drepung Monastery


drepung monastery

drepung monastery

1) Tsochen Hall

Located in the center of Drepung Monastery, the Tsochen Hall covers an area of nearly 4,500 square meters. There is a stone-paved square in front of the temple, covering an area of 200 square meters. The 17th-level wide stone steps are the 8 columns of the gallery. The hall of the main hall is large in scale, with 221 rooms and 183 columns. At its center, a high-rise skylight covering an area of more than 100 square meters is raised. It’s very magnificent.


2) Other cultural relics:

Drepung Monastery is the largest temple in Lhasa and even in Tibet. The number of precious collections is quite amazing. There are many famous porcelains in the past. The ages are as early as the Song Dynasty, the Ming and Qing dynasties, especially the Qing Dynasty, which are the most popular.


4 Debating in Drepung Monastery


drepung monastery

The debating in Drepung Monastery usually held near the Zhacang. The main position has a first-level debate platform. When the debate is over, the lama will sit in turn. In principle, all the lamas in Drepung Monastery can participate in a debate, but in fact, it can be based on enough Buddhist knowledge. On the debate platform, only a few lamas who were able to win in the large-scale debate in Zhacang, finally obtained the highest honor “Gexi” degree.

Drepung Monastery also has irregular debates. It starts at 14:30. Although it is not as famous as Sera Monastery, it can also be seen in Drepung Monastery if you are lucky.


drepung monastery

drepung monastery in sho dun feitival

5 Sho Dun Festival in Drepung Monastery


Every year at the Sho Dun Festival, the Drepung Monastery will hold a buddha ritual and display a giant Buddha image of Thangka on the hillside, attracting a large number of believers and tourists to come and pray for a spectacular scene. The  Sho Dun Festival is the largest religious festival in Drepung Monastery and has become one of the largest festivals in the Lhasa region. On June 30th in the Tibetan calendar, First, with Drepung Monastery as the center, a huge Buddha statue Tangka painting was exhibited in the morning, and then a Tibetan opera performance was held in Norbulingka Palace.

During the 13th Dalai Lama, when the Sho Dun Festival, famous Tibetan troupes from all over Tibet were invited to perform Tibetan opera in Norbulingka. Since then, the Sho Dun Festival has officially become a famous literary festival in Tibet.

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