Trandruk Monastery is famous throughout Tibet since it was the first Buddhist chapel ever built in Tibet. Regarded as one of the earliest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, It has been founded at the same time as the Jokhang and Ramoche in Lhasa, during the Tang dynasty. It lies 5 km. (3 mi.) south of Tsedang on the road leading to Yumbu Lakhang. For those who travel in Tibet, Trandrunk Monastery is a great place to learn about the culture and history of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery is also a place to see the famous Tibetan Thangka.
What to see in Trandruk Monastery
The main building of the Trandruk Monastery is the Tshomchen, in which Padmasambhava is enshrined. The Tshomchen was built in the style of Tang Dynasty structures and adopted the characteristics of Nepalese and Indian architecture. The building has many chapels. In one of the chapels, a precious Pearl Thangka, representing Chenrezi at rest, is housed The Tibetan Thangka, or scroll painting, is a special art of Tibetan Buddhism and is an elaborate and intricate depiction of Buddha's various forms and teachings. The Tibetan Thangka in Tshomchen is made up of 30,000 pearls and hundreds of other gems like diamonds, sapphires, turquoise, rubies and amber. In Tibet, Thangkas are frequently the center of Buddhist religious ceremonies. Pilgrims throw money to the Thangka to show their respect.
The Legend of Trandruk Monastery
Since it was founded during the reign of Emperor Songtsen Gampo (617-650), the Trandruk Monastery has taken an important position in the history of Tibetan Buddhism. According to the local legend, the site where the Trandruk Monastery lies once was a large lake. There was an evil dragon with five heads in the lake, which often brought disaster to the people living around the lake. In order to defeat the dragon and bring the locals back to normal life, Songtsen Gampo turned into a roc and fought with the dragon. Eventually, the dragon was killed. Hence, the Trandruk Monastery was built to commemorate Songtsen Gampo's great deeds. In Tibetan, the word "Trandruk" means a roc and a dragon.