Ganden Monastery shares the fame of “Three Great Monasteries in Lhasa” with Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery, and also the title of “Six Great Monasteries of Gulug School (Yellow Sect)”. Built in 1409, it holds the unique position in the six monasteries of Gulug School because of its founder Tsongkhapa who was also the founder of the Gulug Sect. Thus, Ganden Monastery has been considered the mother monastery of Gulug Sect by its followers. The abbot of Ganden Monastery holds his statue only next to the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas due to the position of this monastery in Tibetan.
Situated on the Wangbori Mountain in the Taktse County, Lhasa City along the south side of Lhasa River, Ganden Monastery assembles its large architecture groups on the cols of the lying elephant-like mountain, showing completely the special features of traditional Tibetan style architectures with their locations based on the local conditions, seeming grand and magnificent.
Enrolled on the list of National Relic Protection Units, the Ganden Monastery keeps a huge architecture groups here: over 50 buildings, including Coqen Hall, Chitokang Hall, Yangbagyain Hall, Holy Stupas Hall, Jamze and Xaze Dratsangs as well as two dozen Khangtsens and Myicuns.
Coqen Hall, also known as Sutra Chanting Hall, is a building with 3 storeys which can hold 3300 monks chanting at the same time. Chitokang Hall used to be the sleeping chamber of Tsongkhapa and the Holy Stupas Hall has been used to place and worship the stupas of each abbots of Ganden Monastery. Yangbagyain Hall is right at left of the Coqen Hall, was orignally built to preserve the body of Tsongkhapa by his disciple. It was silver tower firstly that used to place the great Tibetan Buddhist master’s body and then changed to a golden tower to preserve it by the 13th Dalai Lama.
Two Dratsangs named Jamze and Xaze has been mainly used as the place for monks to study, equivalent to the Buddhist colleges. The Khangtsens and Myicuns are the fundamental organs under the Dratsangs for the monks to live and learn.
Corresponding to its great position in the Tibetan monasteries, the treasures collected in Ganden Monastery keep both high quality and large quantity. Delicate Thangkas, silk works, grand Buddhist statues and the valuable Buddhist scriptures, the throne of Tsongkapa and the bed on which this master passed away, all of these treasures granted Ganden Monastery with the great fame. The Thangkas given by the central government of Ming and Qing Dynasties showing the close and harmonious relationship between Tibet and the Chinese central government in ancient time has gradually created a grand Festival named “Ganden Thangkas” while 24 magnificent Thangkas has been showed for three weeks each year.
The 25th October in Tibetan calendar is the anniversary when the whole monastery hangs the huge image of Buddha in the daytime and light up in the night to worship the ever great Buddhist master. With the grand rite and atmosphere, it has been taken as the most important festival to this monastery.
Open Time: 9:00-16:00
Entrance charge: CNY40 for per person
- Travelers should obey and respect the customs and rules of Tibetan Buddhism, walk clockwise round the monastery, halls and when in the pilgrim circling.
- Visitors should respect religious belief of local peopleand not point the Buddhistimages with fingers. Taking caps off, keeping quiet and taking no photos here.
- Ganden Monastery bears high altitudes so the new comers need to be careful and not cause the altitude stress.