Ganden Monastery near Lhasa, Tibet
Ganden Monastery Introduction:
Ganden Monastery, is one of “the great three” Gelugpa monasteries in Tibet, the others are Dreprung Monastery and Sera Monastery, both of which are located in the Lhasa city. For that reason, it is definitely one of the most remarkable places to see in your tours to Tibet.
Things to do at Ganden Monastery:
- During the visit in the Ganden Monastery, there are three sights should not to be missed at Ganden Monastery,
- Serdung, which contains the tomb of Tsongkhapa
- The Tsokchen Assembly Hall
- The Ngam Cho Khang, which houses many artifacts which belonged to Tsongkhapa.
Ganden Monastery is also well-known for its kora. There actually are two parts to the walk, the high kora and the low kora. No matter which way you choose, enjoy the superb views over the braided Kyi-chu Valley along the way and see large numbers of pilgrims and monks offering prayers, rubbing holy rocks and prostrating themselves along the path.
Brief Knowledge of Ganden Monastery:
Ganden Monastery is unique in that is situated atop of the Wangbur Mountain, 50 km. (31 mi.) northeast of Lhasa, at an altitude of 4,300 m. (14,107 ft.).
There are generally two principal original colleges in Ganden Monastery, Jangtse and Shartse, meaning North Peak and East Peak respectively. Even though it’s considered to be the smallest one among “the great three”, the monastery still remains three times as large as the Potala Palace.
Ganden Monastery was the first monastery established by the founder of Gelugpa Sect, Tsongkhapa himself in 1409. The monastery has always been a symbolic shrine to all the disciples of the Gelugpa sect. When Tsongkhapa died in 1411, his preserved body was buried there in a silver and gold encrusted tomb, and the abbot of the monastery passed to his disciples. From that time forth, Ganden Monastery has become to be the main seat of Geluk administrative and political power.
The Tibetan word “Ganden” came from the name of the Western Paradise, which means joyous, it’s the dwelling place of Jampa, which is the Future Buddha. The head of the monastery came to be known as the Ganden Tripa, and what’s interesting is that this post was earned through scholarly merit, not reincarnation.
Ganden Monastery is a great choice for those who have only limited time for one monastery excursion outside Lhasa in their tours to Tibet. Not vanished with the time, Ganden still occupies an important position in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, and it’s definitely an experience unlike the other major Gelugpa monasteries in the Lhasa area, with its picturesque views of the surrounding Kyi-chu Valley and fascinating kora.