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Monasteries

Drepung Gönpa

Pabongka Ganden Podrang palace
Drepung is not so much a monastery, as well as a monastic village. Located about 8 km outside of Lhasa city it once was the largest monastery of Tibet with a total of about 10.000 monks. Today a mere 300 monks are allowed.
Drepung was founded in 1416 by one of Tsongkhapa's disciples, Jamyang Choje. It has long been a main center of political power in Tibetan history. The Ganden Podrang was the main seat of the Dalai Lama's until the Fifth started building the Potala.
Pabongka Jamyang Lhakhang, dedicated to Jamyang Choje
Drepung has six main temples: Ganden Podrang was the head seat of the Dalai Lama. You can see the private apartments of the Dalai Lama at the top right. Tsochen Lhakhang, the largest building in Drepung, is the main assembly hall. 180 columns support the main hall. Ngakpa Tratsang, Losaling Tratsang, Tashi Gomang Tratsang and Dyeyang Tratsang are the four main colleges of Drepung, where tantra, logic, dialectics and medicine were studied.
Behind Tsochen the Jamyang Drubpuk meditation cave and the Jamyang Lhakhang shrine, a small temple dedicated to the fouder of Drepung, Jamyang Choje, can be found. Unfortunately they are closed most of the time.

Pabongka Monk, debating in Drepung's streets
Pabongka Pilgrims on the stairs of
Tashi Gomang College
Pabongka Courtyard in front of the main assembly hall

You can walk the kora around Drepung in 1 - 1.5 hours. he start of the path s near the entrance at the left of the parking lot. It's an easy walk from Drepung to Nechung Monastery, the seat of the State Oracle.

Pabongka Village stairs, 1996 (left) and 2005
To get to Drepung take the minibus 301 and get out at the main road where a junction to the right leads to the monastery. Here you can take a hike on one of the carts that ride up and down to Drepung. Admission fee is 30 Yuan. After buying a ticket you enter the monastery from the left and just follow the clockwise path that is set up for visitors.

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