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Ganden Monastery

Ganden Monastery

Ganden Monastery (Chinese pinyin: Gan dan si) is located at the top of Wangbur Mountain, Tagtse County and is one of the three great monasteries in Tibet, the other two being Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery. Standing at 3,800 meters, Ganden Monastery is 57 kilometers away from the center of Lhasa. As one of the earliest and largest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, the religious, artistic, and cultural significance of Ganden Monastery made it a key cultural unit under state protection.

It was founded by Je Tsongkhapa himself (a famous teacher of Tibetan Buddhism whose activities led to the formation of the Geluk sect) in 1409. Ganden Monastery was once the seat of Geluk administrative and political power. The preserved body of Tsongkhapa was laid in the monastery in a silver and gold tomb.

Ganden Monastery was partly destroyed during the war in 1959. Restoration have been carried out since the 1980s. The present scale still doesn’t compare to the original. Being the farthest from Lhasa of the three monasteries, Ganden Monastery had a population of about 5,000 monks in the early twentieth century.

There are two main colleges in Ganden Monastery: Jangtse (North Peak) and Shartse (East Peak), both of which have an area of about 1,000 meters squared. The three main sights in the Ganden Monastery are the Serdung where the tomb of Tsongkhapa is, the Tsokchen Assembly Hall, and the Ngam Cho Khang Chapel where Tsongkhapa taught and can house 3,500 monks. There are 9 courtyards with the purpose of debating for the monks.

Visiting the Ganden Monastery will not only be a tour for you to get to know the religion and culture of the Tibetans, but because of its far distance from the city and its high altitude, a place to enjoy the gorgeous scenery throughout the monastery.