Tashilhunpo Monastery is one of the Six Big Monasteries of Gelugpa (or Yellow Hat Sect) in Tibet. Also called the Heap of Glory, it is located at the foot of Drolmari (Tara's Mountain), Shigatse. Founded by the First Dailai Lama in 1447, the monastery's structure was expanded by the Fourth and successive Panchen Lamas. Covering an area of nearly 300,000 square meters (3,229,279 sq. ft.), the main structures found here are The Maitreya Chapel, The Panchen Lama's Palace and The Kelsang Temple. Tashilhunpo is the seat of the Panchen Lama since the Fourth Panchen Lama took charge in the monastery, and there are now nearly 800 lamas.
The stupa-tomb of
the Tenth Panchen Lama
The Kelsang Temple is one of the oldest and biggest buildings in Tashilhunpo. It is a colossal compound. The Main Chanting Hall is a place for lamas to learn the sutras and listen to the Panchen Lama's sermon. On the back end of the hall lies a 5 meters (16 ft) high statue of Sakyamuni. It is said that a part of Sakyamuni's relics was placed in it. Two chapels sit on both sides of the Main Chanting Hall. The left one is devoted to Tara, the goddess who is believed to be the avatar of Avalokitesvara. A White Tara is in the middle and two Green Taras on each side. The right chapel is dedicated to Maitreya Buddha. With a height of 11 meters (36 ft), one can find the statue of Maitreya Buddha in the middle of the chapel. The statues of Avalokitesvara and Bodhisattva Manjusri created by the First Dalai Lama stands near the statue of Maitreya Buddha. The Great Courtyard of the Kelsang Temple is the place for lamas to practice and debate. The wall around the courtyard is covered by thousands of images of Sakyamuni in different postures and expressions.
Besides the grand palace and gigantic statues, the Tashilhunpo Monastery also treasures characteristic wall paintings. Because of the variety of shapes, resplendent colors and exquisite painting, the murals are considered to be another masterpiece of Buddhist art. Rare sutras, thangka, china and glass services of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasties (1644-1911) are also invaluable assets found here. These are good relics for researching the history and society of Tibet.
Wall paintings Kelsang Temple
If you come across some important Tibetan festivals, such as Tibetan New Year and Dancing Deity Festival, you may enter the monastery for free.
If you want to take pictures inside the palace, please ask politely the lamas.
It's easy to be lost in the grand palace, so please be careful!
How to Get There:
The Tashilhunpo Monastery is situated at the west part of Shigatse City; you can get there by foot or by pedicab.
|Admission Fee:||CNY 80 (May 1-Oct.31); CNY 40 (Nov. 1-Apr. 30)|
|Opening Hours:||09:00 to 17:00(closed for lunch from 12:00 to 14:00)|
|Recommended Time for a Visit:||Three hours|