Ganden Monastery
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Ganden Monastery

Update: Jan. 11th, 2013

Ganden Monastery

Ganden Monastery is located in Dagze County, about 60 kilometers to the east of Lhasa. It is about 3800 meters above the sea level. Ganden Monastery is one of the three great monasteries in Lhasa and also one of the six great monasteries of Gelug Sect. It is a special monastery since it was built in 1409 by Tsongkhapa – founder of the Gelug Sect.

Ganden means happiness and contentedness in Tibetan. The successors of Tsongkhapa lived in Ganden Monastery. There are more than 90 pagodas of the successors. It also stored a large quantity of cultural relics and handicrafts which could be dated back to Chinese Ming Dynasty.

Ganden Monastery – First Monastery of Gelug Sect

Ganden Monastery is the first monastery of Gelug Sect. It is one of the three great monasteries in Tibet; the other two monasteries are Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery. There were about 4000 Buddhists in Ganden Monastery in its heyday.

The existing Ganden Monastery experienced several restoration and some of its relics were lost or looted. But it is still a worthwhile monastery to learn something about Tibetan Buddhism. Ganden Monastery has been listed as an important cultural site under the state protection.

Ganden Monastery – Architecture

Ganden Monastery is composed of more than 50 buildings, including assemblies, shrines and chapels, as well as libraries for the important Buddhism classics and scriptures.

There are 95 pagodas of the leaders of Ganden Monastery. These pagodas proved the long history of Ganden Monastery. Particularly, the pagoda of Tsongkhapa was decorated with pure gold by the 13th Dalai Lama.

There are numerous and large assemblies which could accommodate more than thousands of Buddhists chant the Buddhism sculptures at the same time. Most of the chapels are two-storey buildings which could accommodate about 200 Buddhists at the same time.

Ganden Monastery – Collections

Ganden Monastery was built against Wangguer Hill. The hill looked like an elephant which carried the large construction complex of Ganden Monastery. 1419, Tsongkhapa passed away. His body is still in the pagoda. The cave where Tsongkhapa practice his Buddhism is located at the commanding height to the east of Ganden Monastery. The cave has been a famous historical site. There are still Buddhism sculptures, clothes and seal of Tsongkhapa in his residence.

There are precious historical and cultural relics in Ganden Monastery, including an armor carved with four languages and decorated with jewelries which was bestowed by Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty in 1757. There is also a great quantity of historical relics which acted as the proofs of the close relationship between Tibet and Chinese Ming and Qing dynasties. There are special exhibitions every year through which tourists here could experience the profound culture of Ganden Monastery.

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