Places of worship of the Tibetan Buddhism as well as of the indigenous Bon religion abound in the Tibet Autonomous Reglon. They are distinctive in srchitecturalstyle, and have had a great influence on the region since ancient times.However, most of the old buildings remained till present in Tibet are monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism that were constructed with regard to their geographical surroundings,usually at the feet of mountains.Generally speaking, a monastery complex is composed of the Sutra Hall,Zhacang (Buddhist school),the living quarters of lamas,the palace of the Living Buddha, and the living quarters for the monks,grouped aroun the Hall of Enlightenment. The various buildings are connected with each other by corridors and courtyards,and form a harmonious whole.The monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism feature aspects of the architectural styles of inland China,India and Nepal.

Jokhang Temple situated in the center of the old section of Lhasa, and was built in the mid – 7th century A. D. and later extended by successive rulers, it has now become a gigantic architecture complex. Located in the east, facing to the west, it is a four storeyed Temple with splendid golden roofs. It has architecture feature of Tang Dynasty and also assimilated very much features from both Nepalese and Indian Buddhist Temples. The murals in the temple mainly depict the life stories of historic characters. The temple houses many historical relics since Tang Dynasty and statues of King Songtsen Gompo, Princess Wencheng, Princess Bhrikuti Devi (Nepalese). “Princess Willow” (a tree), and “The Uncle – Nephew Alliance Tablet” can be seen at the front gate of the temple. Jokhang is the country’ s spiritual center, and the holiest destination for Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims. It houses the sitting statue of Sakyamuni when he was 12 years old.

Better known by it’s Tibetan name, Khasa. A small settlement clinging to a hillside 10Kms. from the Friendship Bridge across the Bhotekoshi river. Since the closure of the China/India border from Gangtok, Zhangmu has become the major trading point between Tibet and Nepal. The climate is quite different from the hinterland. The hills around Zhangmu are heavily wooded with many waterfalls in summer and impressive ice formations it winter. It has a bank, a post office, a government store, and is presently undergoing a construction boom to meet the demands of trade and tourism.

Situated five Km’s distance to the western suburb of Lhasa at the foot of Mt. Ganpoi Uze. Drepung Monastery, was founded in 1416 by Jamyang Choje, a disciple of Tsongkapa, the founder of Gelugpa Sect. The monastery, occupying an area of 250,000 squire meters with a fixed number of 7,700 monks, is the largest monastery in Tibet. The monastery keeps plentiful historical relics, Buddhist scriptures, arts and crafts.

Tashilungpo Monastery
It is the biggest Gelugpa monastery in the Tsang region of Tibet. It is located in the town of Sigatse and was founded by Gedun Drup, a disciple of Tsongkapa, the founder of the Gelungpa Sect. Gedun Drup was later recognized as the first Dalai Lama. It was formerly built in 1447 and continuously expanded by the successive Panchen Lamas. The Ngagpa College (Tantric College), one of its four monastic colleges, was the residence of the Panchen lamas. The most amazing image in this monastery is the statue of the giant Maitreya (Future Buddha) zhangmuerected by the 9th Panchen Lama in 1914, and took four years for its establishment. This giant statue stands twenty six meters in height and 275 Kg. of solid gold, great quantity of precious things such as pearls, turquoises, corals and ambers have absolved for its construction. The 4th Panchen Lama’s funeral stupa was built in 1662 and it stands eleven meters high and it covered with solid gold and silver.

Shalu is located about 18 kilometers southwest of Shigatse. It was built in the 11 th century and was a seat of great learning. After its destruction by an earthquake in the 14 th century, Shalu was rebuilt with the assistance of the Mongols, consequently it featured a green Mongol style tile roof. Its greatest artistic feature was a series of paintings executed by Nehwari craftsmen. The Nehwars are the original native residents of the Kathmandu valley in Nepal and are to this day renowned artisans. It was the Nehwars who invented the architectural Pagoda style which now permeates all of southeast Asia. Although most of the monastery was destroyed by the Chinese, a main building remained featuring some remarkable mandalas and wall paintings arrayed along a corridor.

Samyai Monastery
It is the first monastery ever built in Tibet. It was founded by the Tibetan King Trisiong Detsen and belongs to the Nyingmapa and Sakyapa sects. The construction consists of three styles, namely, the Han, the Tibetan and the Indian. It is said that the monastery was destroyed by fire and was rebuilt three hundred years as the residence of the 6th Dalai Lama. Finally, it was completed by Rating Rimpoche. To visit this monstery a ferry across the Yarlung Zangpo river has to be taken from the road to Tsetang.

Tsetang Valley
Yumbu Lagang – the oldest building in Tibet. Yumbu Lagang, situated in Nedong country of Lhoka Prefecture, Yumbu Langang is said to be the first palace in Tibetan history and built in the second century B.C. The palace, facing west, stands lofty on top of the hill. Statues of the Three Periods of Buddha, Tibetan king Nyatri Tsenpo, Lha Tho – Tho – Ri Nyantsen, Tri Ralpachen, Songtsen Gampo and Trisong Detsen are enshrined in the palace.

Sakya Monastery
Located in Skaya Country, about 30 kms off the Shigatse-Xegar highway. The monastery stood in two parts on either side of Dongchu River. This monastery is the center of the Sakyapa Sect (White Earth Order). The northern part of the monastery was built in the year 1079 and the southern founded in 1268 by a famous abbot of Sakya named Pagpa who once had ruled the whole of Tibet under the Yuan Dynasty’s supervision. The monastery has great influence over the Tibetan history and cultural development. The State Council of PRC has classified it the national level protected monuments. Owing to its valuable and voluminous amount of Buddhist sutras and cultural remains, the monastery is often considered as the “Tunhuang the Second”.

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