Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse

Why is Tashilhunpo Monastery So Special?

Founded by the First Dalai Lama in 1447, Tashilhunpo Monastery is one of the six big monasteries in Tibet. It is the seat of the Panchen Lama, the second ranking person in the Gelugpa Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy, after the Dalai Lama. The monastery houses the tombs of Panchen Lamas and a 22.4-meter statue of Maitreya Buddha. Tashilhunpo remains popular among the Tibetans, as they carry on coming here on pilgrimage.

Where is Tashilhunpo Monastery

It is located at the foot of Mount Nishiri in Xigaze, Tibet. It is the largest temple in the region.More than five hundred years, Tashilhunpo Monastery has been attracting Buddhist believers both at home and abroad come here to worship.

History of Tashilhunpo Monastery

In 1447 Tsongkhapa youngest disciple, (has been retrospected for the first Dalai Lama dge-vdun-vgrub-pa), built Tashilhunpo monastery with the support of two Tsang nobles. At the first the temple named as “Gang Jian Dian Pei”, meaning snow area makes temple prosperous, late it was changed the name of Tashilhunpo Monastery by dge-vdun-vgrub-pa, and it took 12 years to build. In 1600, the Fourth Panchen Lama has carried on abbot and conducted the massive expansion to monastery. The fourth panchen lama is the first to be conferring the panchen lama, after that Tashilhunpo Monastery became the living quarter for successive panchen lama.

Main Attractions to See Near to Tashilhunpo Monastery

Main Assembly Hall

Main Assembly Hall, Zuo Zongtang, is the first building in Tashilhunpo monastery, which took 12 years to complete. In front of the main conference hall, there is a 600-square-meter sermon place, which is the place where the Panchen Lama lectured and the monks debated the Buddhist scriptures.

Maitreya Chapel

Visitors can find the Maitreya Chapel by strolling into Tashilhunpo Monastery on the west side of Tashilhunpo. One can find the biggest statue of a sitting Maitreya Buddha inside the chapel.

Stupa Hall

Stupa Hall of Tashilhunpo Monastery is successive Panchen stupas. There are a total of eight Panchen stupas in the Tashilhunpo Monastery. During the “Great Cultural Revolution”, the Fifth to Ninth Panchen Lama stupas were destroyed.

Sutra Hall

The Sutra Hall is the repository chamber of the monastery, containing some 10,000 hand-carved wooden blocks used for printing the Buddhist scriptures. These are all Tibetan translations of original Sanskrit texts. Visitors to the temple can buy colored prayer flags and Tibetan lunar calendars as souvenirs which are printed in the chamber.

Other things in Tashilhunpo Monastery

In addition to the magnificent palace and huge statues, Tashilhunpo Temple also boasts unique murals. Because of its various shapes, brilliant colors and exquisite paintings, murals are considered another masterpiece of Buddhist art. Rare Buddhist scriptures, Thangka, Chinese and Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) glassware are also priceless here. These are good cultural relics for studying Tibetan history and society.

Best time to travel Tashilhunpo Monastery

Temperatures in Shigatse range is from a high of 23℃ to a low of -25℃, with an annual average temperature of 6.3℃. From November to April in the next year, it is unsuitable for travelling to Shigatse because of the low temperature. July and August are considered as the rainy season. During this time, it often rains in the evening. The best time to visit Tashilhunpo Monastery is April to October. 

How to Get There

Take a bus from Lhasa Xijiao Bus Station to Shigatse and then go to the monastery by taxi or bus 3.

Useful Travel Tips

Entrance Fee CNY 100
Opening Hours 9:00 to 19:30(closed for lunch from 12:00 to 14:00)
Recommended Time for a Visit 2 – 3h
  • If you meet some important Tibetan festivals, such as Tibetan New Year and Dance God Festival, you can enter Tashilhunpo Temple free of charge.
  • If you want to take photos in the palace, please politely ask the lamas.
  • It is easy to get lost in the palace, so please be careful!

Nearby Attractions

Edited by Doreen/张洋