The Sakya Monastery located at the foot of Benbo Mountain in the Tibet Autonomous Region, is the ancestral temple of Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It was built in 1073 by Khon Konchog Gyalpo, the founder of Sakyapa sect of Lamaism. Sakya, means "Grey Soil" in Tibetan because the soil surrounding it is gray. In the Yuan Dynasty, the fifth Sakya Throne Holder, Drogon Chogyal Phakpa was appointed as the National Priest by Yuan Emperor Shizu. He took charge of the Buddhist and executive affairs of Tibet and initiated the history of monk's reign in Tibet. Sakya Monastery became the political center of Tibet at that time. The Zhongqu River divides Sakya Monastery into the southern and the northern part. The northern temple has been mostly deserted while the southern temple still remains.
The northern temple looks like a castle with walls as high as 13 meters surrounding it. Outside the castle is a lower earthen castle and outside further is the deep trench. Walls, watchtowers, turrets; earthen castle and trench form the defensive system of the castle, which was almost formidable at that time. With red wall in white and grey strips which represent Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani respectively, the Sakya Monastery is also called Colored Temple and Colored School. The main architectures inside the castle are the Dajing Hall where the Sakya archbishop lived. The Dajing Hall preserved the style of Yuan architecture is in the center of the temple and occupies an area of 5,700 square meters.
On the western, northern and southern sides are fresco corridors while on the eastern side is the hall where Sakyapa Masters are enshrined. To the north of Dajing Hall is the hall for Sakyapa archbishop, with monks' dorms on its north and back.. On the shelves of the Dajing Hall and the Buddhism Hall are displayed various hand-written Buddhist scriptures and books of Ming and Qing dynasties. It has the largest number of books among all the temples in Tibet. These scriptures and books are precious materials for research into the Tibetan history. Here are some guide information for your tour to Sakya Monastery. Address: Sakya County, 180 Km south from the Shigatse. Admission Fee: CNY45 Contact Number: 86-10-85968802
Attractions you may also like:
Tibet Group Tour