Last Updated on December 11, 2022 by Alpha Adventure Treks
Tibet is the ideal destination for you if you’re the kind of tourist who wants to expand both intellect and body as well as soul. The stunning Tibetan monasteries only enhance the unforgettable experience with their intensely spiritual ambiance.
Different schools were created within some of the groups. Each sect has a distinct leader and maintains an accurate record of its genealogy. As a result, while each sect’s monasteries share some traits, they also have some unique qualities.
Even a non-religious person can comprehend and recognize the significance of these magnificent monasteries to Tibetan Buddhists.
The top ten Tibetan monasteries in Tibet that we advise you to visit for a spiritual journey are listed below. Which temples must be visited given that there is the largest Buddhist monastery in the world, the beginning of the reincarnation of living Buddhas, and the most sacred temple? The Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Ganden Monastery, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Samye Monastery, Sakya Monastery, and other monasteries are among the most well-known.
On the Red Hill in the heart of Lhasa, the Potala Palace, the tallest ancient palace in the world, stands. Its highest point was 3700 m (12,139 ft) above sea level. Potala Palace, which has a rich cultural legacy, is a must-see location for any journey to Tibet.
The “pearl on the roof of the globe” is how people refer to Potala Palace. It serves as the snowy plateau’s primary landmark as well. In addition to being one of the most well-known ancient building wonders in China and the entire globe, Potala Palace is a well-known palace-style architectural complex and exceptional representative of Tibetan architecture, ranking as a 5A tourism destination on a national scale.
Since 1994, it has been included on the World Cultural Heritage List. Potala Palace, which has a strong Buddhist culture, draws a lot of pilgrims to pray there.
Jokhang Temple is situated in Barkhor Square in Lhasa as well. The beauty of this structure is derived from the fusion of Tibetan, Indian, and Nepalese patterns with other architectural traditions.
The tradition has it that a previous lake was turned into land just so that the temple could be constructed. For Tibetan Buddhists, it has an even deeper spiritual significance because it is home to one of the three remaining Sakyamuni Buddha sculptures.
The Gelug School is in charge of the temple, which is thought to be the holiest in all of Tibet. However, all sects are welcome there because the temple represents the very essence of Tibetan Buddhism.
There is a wide variety of people to be found both inside the temple and in the streets that surround it. Numerous Tibetan monks are lining the streets, and committed Buddhists from all over Tibet and elsewhere have come to see the location.
Along with Tibetans who are spiritually inclined, you will also witness tourists taking pictures and people hawking their goods on the streets. This place is genuinely unusual since the calm city bustle is permeated by a strong spiritual vibe. To adequately tour this stunning temple, at least half a day is needed.
About 10 kilometers to the west of Lhasa, on the hillside of the Gambo Utse Mountain’s south slope, is where you’ll find the Drepung Monastery. The Tibetan word “Drepung,” which means “rice collect,” derives from the monastery’s white architectural complex, which from a distance resembles a mound of rice.
With more than 10,000 monks living and studying there, Drepung is the largest monastery in the world. Before the 1950s, it had 3305 subsidiary branches, 141 manors, and more than 540 pastures. Drepung was founded in 1416 by Jamyang Choge Tashi Palden, one of the Tsongkhapa’s pupils. One of the must-see attractions in Lhasa is the Drpung, which is the capital of Tibet.
The Gelug School in Tibet takes its name from the Ganden Monastery and is a straightforward acronym for the phrase “Ganden Lug,” which meaning Ganden Tradition.
This stunning location nevertheless serves as a tribute to the unwavering dedication of the really spiritual despite its terrible past. Originally demolished, this university monastery has subsequently undergone partial reconstruction. It definitely is a sight to witness right now.
Every year, Ganden Monastery hosts the Buddha Thangka Unfolding Festival, which draws tens of thousands of Tibetan Buddhists and tourists from all over the world. The 17th-century Ganden Monastery is located around 40 kilometers northeast of Lhasa’s city center.
This monastery, which can be found a short distance north of Lhasa, got its name from the wildflowers that used to blossom where it was situated. Jamchen Chojey, a disciple of Tsongkhapa, founded in 1419. Sera is a sizable and stunning monastery in Lhasa.
Three universities offer Buddhism courses for Tibetan monks. Monks congregate in a courtyard for discussions on Buddhist subjects to put what they have learnt into practice. Every day, excluding Sunday, the debates are broadcast for viewers.
It belongs to the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, which has six main monasteries. Tsongkhapa, a Gelugpa master, once lived in this area and gave lectures in the monastery.
The first Buddhist monastery in Tibet is called Samye. Indian teacher Padma Sambhava was called by Tibetan King Trisong Detsen to help found the monastery in the eighth century. The complex of monasteries is shaped like a universe-themed mandala.
Twelve encircling temples stand in for continents and subcontinents, with the Utse Temple in the center representing Mount Meru. The complex’s four sides are adorned with four sizable stupas in various colors.
The Indian abbot of Samye Monastery, Shantarakshita, ordained Tibet’s first seven monks here not long after the monastery was established, and Indian and Chinese experts were recruited to help in the translation of Buddhist texts into Tibetan.
Drak Yerpa Monastery & Caves:
Only a short drive from Lhasa, Tibet, Drak Yerpa is home to a monastery and several old meditation caves that once held roughly 300 monks. It is situated in Dagzê County atop a hill. On the northern bank of the Kyichu, about 16 kilometers (9.9 miles) northeast of Lhasa, is the entrance to the Yerpa Valley.
The distance to the well-known ancient meditation caves amid the stunning limestone cliffs of the Yerpa Valley is about 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) from there. Opposite the major caves are an ancient sky burial place.
The valley is supposed to have been visited by the illustrious legendary hero Gesar of Ling. The cliffs’ holes from his arrows are thought to be proof of his presence.
Palcho Monastery – The Only Tibet Monastery with Three Sects in One Temple:
Palcho Monastery, also known as the Pelkor Chode Monastery, is the only monastery in Tibet to house three of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
The monastery was initially a Sakya monastery, with pieces of the main monastery being built by several local lords. It was created as an attempt to continue the Yarlung Dynasty of Tibetan Kings following the assassination of King Langdarma.
A number of structures were built as religious colleges for the Sakya, Kagyu, and Gelugpa sects. On a nearby hill, the well-known Gyantse Fortress was constructed in the 13th century and was a significant contribution to the region. The magnificent Gyantse Kumbum, a nine-tiered stupa that is the only one of its kind in Tibet, is also housed in the monastery.
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery:
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is a sizable Tibetan Gelug Buddhist monastery in the U-Tsang region of Shigatse, Tibet Autonomous Region, and is situated at the base of Niseri Mountain.
The first Dalai Lama Gedun Drupa, a follower of the Gelugpa Je Tsongkhapa, founded it in 1447, and it took 12 years to finish. Tashi Lhunpo Monastery has served as the traditional residence of succeeding Panchen Lamas ever since the Fourth Panchen Lama.
The Tibetan name for Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is “Auspicious Mount Sumeru.” It belongs to the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, which has six main monasteries. The remaining five monasteries are: Labrang Monastery, Ganden Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, and Ta’er Monastery.
A little distance to the southwest of Potala Palace, Norbulingka Palace is located in the west of Lhasa. The largest man-made garden in Tibet, Norbulingka is said to be 36 hectares (89 acres) in size.
The three main buildings that make up the complete Norbulingka complex—Kelsang Phodrong, Golden Linka, and Takten Migyur Phodrong—combine for 374 rooms. As you enter the flower garden, the lush vegetation makes the buildings appear to be surrounded by tall trees.
You may take in the peacefulness around you as you stroll down the flagstone road, which is incredibly difficult to find in Tibet, especially in such a high-altitude region. From the 1780s until 1959, Norbulingka served as the Dalai Lamas’ summer retreat.