Ganden Monastery in Lhasa
Located on Mt Wangbur with an altitude of 3,800 meters on the south of Lhasa city, Ganden Monastery is about 40km away from Lhasa city. Ganden monastery is the most special monastery in the Six Great Monasteries of the Gelug sect, as It was built by master Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It can be said that the Ganden Monastery is the ancestral temple of the Gelug Sect. The Ganden monastery is also known as one of three great Monasteries in Lhasa with the Drepung Monastery and the Sera Monastery.
The heir to the throne of Tsongkhapa, Gandan Chiba, the sect of the Gelug School, lives in this temple. Because Ganden Monastery is the ancestral temple of the Gelug Sect, Gandan Chiba is also the host of the entire Gelug Sect, second only to the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. In the Ganden monastery, there are more than 90 remains of Gandan Chiba, many artifacts and crafts since the Ming Dynasty.
1. Brief Introduction
Built time: 1409 AD
Location: Lhasa Dagzê county
Recommended visit time: 2-3 hours
Ticket fee: RMB 40
Opening hours: 9:00 am ~16:00, every day
The best time to visit: the whole year
2 The History in Ganden Monastery
The Ganden Monastery was built in the 7th of Ming Dynasty (1409), 40 kilometers east of Lhasa. Master Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug Sect, carried out religious reforms in the Tibetan area in the 15th century. Ganden Monastery was the first temple of the Gelug Sect which built by himself.
In 1419, Master Tsongkhapa died in the Ganden Monastery, and the spiritual tower of Master Tsongkhapa remained in the spiritual tower. The caves of Tsongkhapa are located at the commanding heights of the east end of Ganden Monastery, which is also a famous monument. Follow up, it ‘s the palace of Tsongkhapa. There are remains relics such as Tsongkhapa’s scriptures, vestments, and seals.
Ganden Monastery is the first temple among six temples of Gelug sect and it is the earliest one. It is collectively known as one of three great Monasteries in Lhasa with the Drepung Monastery and the Sera Monastery. There were nearly 4,000 monks in the prosperous period. Although it was demolished during the Cultural Revolution, if you have a special interest in Tibetan Buddhism, it is still not to be missed.
2 Collection of cultural relics in Ganden Monastery
The murals and sculptures in Ganden Monastery are exquisite. Among them, in 1757, Emperor Qianlong, the king of Qing Dynasty gave golds, silver jewels, a book with four characters of Han, Man, Meng, and Tibet. In the Ganden Monastery, there is also the sacred seat of Tsongkhapa. Those cultural relics are enough to show the long history and the noble status of Ganden monastery.
3 Major festivals in Ganden Monastery
1)Lantern Festival:On October 25th in Tibetan calendar, it’s the dead day of master Tsongkhapa, the founder of Gelug Sect. During the daytime, the Buddha statue (26 meters long and 10 meters wide) will be displayed. At night, this temple will be lit up. It is the most important traditional festival in Ganden Monastery, which called the Lantern Festival.
2)Sho Dun Festival:Summer is the peak season in Tibet for sightseeing and photography. During the Sho Dun Festival, there are also Buddhist ceremonies at Ganden monastery. Although the Buddha statue is not as great as the Drepung Monastery, it is also very beautiful.
3)Gandan Tang embroidery festival:Ganden Monastery has twenty-four silk-embroidered embroidered paintings, embroidered with sixteen arhats, four great kings and other Buddha statues. It is presented by Ming Yongle. Every year, during the Tibetan calendar month, those paintings will be exhibited for three weeks for the monks and Tibetans to observe. and at the same time, the grand faculty will be held in Ganden Monastery.
4 Classic Hiking Route around Ganden Monastery
1)Around Ganden Monastery: about 2 hours
As the Ganden Monastery located on Mt Wangbur with an altitude of 3,800 meters on the south of Lhasa city, the scenery around Ganden monastery is very beautiful. If you prefer, you can trek about 2 hours around Ganden Monastery. It’s an unforgettable experience for Tibet travel.
2)Trekking from Ganden Monastery to Samye Monastery: about 4~5 days.
This trekking route is the most classic connection between the two Golden Temples with Ganden Monastery and Samye Monastery. The footprints of the Tibetans and the most classic travel marks under the shadow of the prayers are the famous hiking pilgrimages. Starting this trekking from Mt Wangbur which is near to Lhasa river, then began to cross the valley, plateau wetlands, village pastoral areas, later, explore the original Yarlung Zangbo River and finally reach the Samye Monastery, which located in Shannan country, the birthplace of Tibetan civilization. The Samye Temple, known as the first temple in Tibet, is the first temple in the history of Tibetan Buddhism. The Samye Monastery was built in 762 AD.
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