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Drepung Monastery

a whole view of Drepung MonasterySituated in the Western suburb of Lhasa, Drepung Monastery is known as the most important monastery of Gelugpa in Tibetan Buddhism. Covering an enormous area of 239,234 square feet, the monastery in its heyday housed 7,700 monks.

Seen from afar, the imposing white structure gives the appearance of a heap of rice, hence the name Drepung Monastery, which means "Monastery of Collecting Rice". The monastery was established in 1416, and with the support of plutocrats, it developed into the richest religious community of Gelugpa. In 1464, seven zhacangs (academies or schools) were set up in the monastery to teach classical sutras.

Situated at the center of Drepung Monastery is the great Coqen Hall, which is supported by 183 finely decorated pillars. The second floor of the hall houses the most precious treasure in the monastery-a huge bronze statue of Qamba Buddha-while the third floor houses a dextro triton, another Buddhist treasure. (A dextro triton is a triton whose shell curves in the clockwise direction. Since dextro tritons are extremely rare in nature-about 1 in every 100,000-they are highly treasured by Tibetan Buddhists).

 

Drepung Monastery Tour

As Buddhism plays the most important role in Tibet and the walls of Drepung Monastery are painted with extraordinary murals, making it one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Tibet.