Even though not a lot of globetrotters can make it to Tibet because of its extremely high altitude, if you have the opportunity to visit the Roof of The World, you should seize it right away. If you are planning to travel to Tibet, you would not want to miss visiting its capital Lhasa. Set in a valley of the Himalayas, Lhasa is best visited when the weather is warm, which happens during the months of May to October. Featuring tons of monasteries, Lhasa is highly popular among Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world. But if you are not a pilgrim, you are welcome to visit the religious buildings that include monasteries and temples. Read on to learn about the must-visit monasteries in Lhasa, Tibet.
The first monastery on the list is Drepung Monastery that is situated at the foot of Mount Gephel. You need to visit Drepung Monastery because it is considered to be among the most important monasteries in Lhasa. Built a long time ago in 1416, the monastery is also the largest one in Tibet and is part of the three great Gelukpa monasteries. There are more than 7,000 monks in total who reside within the monastery. It is quite easy to reach the monastery. For the most convenient way, grab a taxi that will bring you to the entrance gate. If you choose to take a bus, you will need to climb for about half an hour to get to the gate.
Day Tour: Tibet Drepung and Sera Monasteries
Duration: 8 hours
Nestled in Barkhor Square, Jokhang Temple is believed to be the most sacred Buddhist temple in the entire Tibet. It serves as the spiritual hub of the country and all pilgrims are highly recommended not to miss a visit to Jokhang Temple. The most prominent feature of the Buddhist temple is the roofs that are covered with gilded bronze tiles. Moreover, the temple is considered to be one of the finest examples of the blend of Tibetan, Nepali, Indian, and Han architectural styles. You can also marvel at the Buddha statues that come in various sizes and murals throughout the building.
Tibet Entry Permit Plus Jokhang Temple & Barkhor Streets and Sera Monastery Tour
Duration: 1 day
Sera Monastery, together with Drepung Monastery, make two of the three great Gelukpa monasteries. Situated not far from Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery is known for its stone roads that will bring you to see the gorgeous views of the surrounding mountain and the city below. Near the main hall, there is an important image named Tibetan Buddhist Circle of Life. If you take a guided tour, your tour guide should be able to help you gain more insights into the Tibetan Buddhist. As you are strolling the halls, you will be presented with stunning murals, Buddha statues, and scriptures written in gold powder.
Central Tibet Monastery 6-Day Tour to Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse
Duration: 6 days
Ganden Monastery completes the three great Gelukpa monasteries. Set in the southern part of beautiful Lhasa River, Ganden Monastery is among the oldest and largest monasteries in Tibet. There are plenty of Buddhist celebrations taking place in this monastery every year. But, the most important and also the most popular one is called Buddha Painting Unfolding Festival. Through the murals and scriptures you can understand more about the Gelukpa culture of Tibetan Buddhism. What is more, you can admire the enchanting view of Lhasa Valley from this holy place.
Day Tour: Tibet Ganden Monastery
Duration: 8 hours
Built in the 17th century, Potala Palace is regarded as one of the most iconic landmarks in Tibet. The palace also appears in many Tibetan postcards as many consider it to be the symbol of Tibet. Do not say that you have come to Tibet if you have not visited this grand palace that is claimed to be the highest palace on Earth. The palace used to be the residence of the Dalai Lamas during winter, but now the palace has turned into a museum and is listed as a World Heritage site. What can you see inside the palace complex? Numerous houses, chapels, and towers.
Highlight Tibet Potala Palace Tour with Tibet Travel Expert Guide
Duration: 4 hours
Set on the north bank of Yarlung Tsangpo, Samye Monastery was built in 762 and is the first monastery in the country. Admire the grand architecture that showcases an excellent combination of Tibetan, Indian and Chinese architecture. Then, you can observe the murals that tell about Tibetan Buddhism.
From Lhasa: 5-Day Lhasa & Samye Monastery Discovery
Duration: 5 day
Find your way to the eastern part of Lhasa and you will come across a stunning monastery named Drak Yerpa, or just Yerpa for short. In addition to a monastery, you can also enjoy numerous ancient caves that were used for meditation purposes. King Songtsen Gampo is among those who once meditated in the caves. According to the locals, there are 108 meditation caves. You are welcome to count the number of the caves and if you plan to visit them all, be sure to come to Yerpa early. From the cliff, you can enjoy the idyllic views of the surrounding.
Address: Dagze, Lhasa, Tibet, China
Opening hours: 9am - 5:30pm (daily)
Price: 20 CNY (3 USD)
You have seen that Jokhang Temple is considered the holiest Buddhist temple in Tibet. The temple that follows the holy status is Ramoche Temple, which is situated north of Jokhang. The temple was built in the 7th century and its highly popular feature is the Akshobhya image. You can find the image once you get to the inner Tsangkhang.
8 Days Lhasa to Everest Base Camp
Duration: 8 days
9. Nechung Monastery
Situated adjacent to Drepung Monastery is Nechung Monastery that although not that big in size, it used to play an important role during the old Lhasa period. The Lhasa government used to consult the state oracle at Nechung Monastery whenever important decisions needed to be made. Make a stop at the main assembly hall to see the statue of Dorje Drakden, the spirit that many believed possessed the oracle.
Address: Chengguan, Lhasa, Tibet, China
Opening hours: 8:30am - 5pm (daily)
Price: From 20 CNY (3 USD)
10. Reting Monastery
Last but not least is Reting Monastery that sits peacefully in Lhünzhub County. The Buddhist monastery serves as the seat of the Reting Rinpoche, a title held by the monastery’s abbot. In the second hall from the chapel, you can see the statues of all the previous Reting Rinpoches.
Address: Lhunzhub, Lhasa, Tibet, China
Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)
Price: 30 CNY (4.3 USD)
The most beautiful monasteries can be found and enjoyed in Lhasa
Now that you have reached the end of the article, you can see how Lhasa is filled with a lot of monasteries that you need to visit. You do not have to be a Buddhist to make visits to those monasteries. So, make sure to spare some time to enjoy the monasteries in addition to the other top-notch attractions in Lhasa.
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