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Sakya Monastery

the golden roof of Sakya monasteryTheSakya Monastery lies 81 miles southwest of Shigatse. The Tibetan word Sakya meaning "gray soil" because of the color of the local soil is the central monastery of the Sakya Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Its walls were painted in red, white, and gray stripes, which represent the Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara, and Vajrapani bodhisattvas, respectively. Because the monastery has an enormous collection of highly valuable art works, it is deemed the "Second Dunhuang." The Drum River divides it in two: the Northern Monastery and the Southern Monastery.

Established first, the Northern monastery of Sakya Monastery was founded by Khon Konchog Gyalpo in 1073, from which the Sakva Sect arose that once ruled Tibet. Unfortunately, it is now in ruins due to its destruction during the Cultural Revolution (l966-l 976). The ruins still reflect its splendor, however. The fifth Sakya throne holder, Drogon Chogyal Phakpa, known as Phakpa, built the Southern Monastery in 1268. Phakpa was the spiritual guide of Kublai Khan, a Mongolian Chinese emperor who granted Phakpa secular and religious authority over Tibet. After Phakpa, the Sakya Sect ruled for more than 100 years in Tibet.

The Southern Monastery of Sakya Monastery is in better condition than the Northern. A typical Mongolian structure, the fortress like monastery covers nearly 484,375 square feet, is surrounded by a moat, and has an outer wall and an inner wall. With fortifications and battlements on top, it has only one entrance on the east.

Sakya Monastery contains countless murals, mostly of the Yuan Dynasty. Of these, the murals of mandalas and former Sakya throne holders are the most outstanding. Among its collection of treasures are 3,000 pieces of palm-leaf sutras written in Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian, and Sanskrit, which cover a wide range of knowledge. Other artifacts such as seals, crowns, robes, Buddhist vessels, and statues bestowed by emperors of the Yuan Dynasty are also on display there.

 

Sakya Monastery Tour

With a long history and so many murals and treasures, the Sakya Monastery is a must-see for visitors to Tibet. And during the tour, tourists will amaze at the magnificent scenery.