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Drepung Monastery

The Drepung Monastery, regarded as one of the "Three Greatest Monasteries" (the other two are the Ganden Monastery and the Sera Monastery), was built in 1416 by Gyavang Chugve, the disciple of Master Tsongkhapa. It is one of the most important Gelugpa monasteries in Tibet. The Drepung Monastery is located at the foot of the Gambo Utse Mountain, 5 kilometers from the western suburb of Lhasa., covering an area of 250,000 square meters. The grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice. In Tibet, 'Drepung Monastery' means Monastery of Collecting-Rice in the Tibetan language. It is the biggest monastery in size and built in the style of Tibetan religious constructions. Drepung used to be the residence of the Dalai Lamas until the Great Fifth Dalai Lama constructed the Potala. As Drepung has always served as the mother monastery for the former Dalai Lamas, Drepung Monastery holds the highest position in Gelugpa monasteries.

In the height of period along the history, Drepung Monastery owns 7,700 monks in total and possessed 141 fazendas and 540 pastures When the Drepung Monastery was first built, there was only one building, but more were built as time passed. The founder maintained the monastery for 32 years and taught discourses on the Three Baskets. From this, many monks gathered there to live and finally divided themselves into seven groups, forming seven colleges. Due to the large increase in monks, the monastery became one of the greatest in Tibet. Later, three of the colleges combined with the others, and then, only four remained. Each college has an abbot responsible for every aspect of the college. The first line of Dalai Lamas received teachings at Drepung Monastery and the second through fifth Dalai Lamas made their home here.

The Drepung Monastery was so important that the name of the Tibetan government derives from the name of the residence at Drepung. After the fifth Dalai Lama, the subsequent ones were only temporal religious ruler, because they no longer had their permanent residence at the monastery. Drepung Monastery owns many cultural relics which adorn the monastery and make it more precious. You can see Statues of Manjushri Bodhisattva, and Sitatapatra on the first storey of the Coqen Hall, rare sutras on the second storey and Jamyang Qoigyi's conch shell given by Tsong Khapa on the third one. All add to the wonderment of the monastery and fully present the wisdom of the Tibetan people. Here is some guide information for your tour to the Drepung Monastery: Admission Fee: CNY55; Opening Hours: 09:00-17:00. Contact Number: 86-0891-6826274

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