Tashi Lhunpo Monastery

#7 in Best Things To Do in Tibet
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery picture1 of 2
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery2 of 2
crystaltmc/Getty Images

Key Info

7 Jijilangka Rd.

Details

Churches/Religious Sites Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.9scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Like the Potala Palace, the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery holds a lot of significance in Tibetan Buddhism. Not only was the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery founded by the first Dalai Lama, but later it became the seat of power for the Panchen Lama, the most important spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama. The monastery comprises multiple gold-trimmed buildings that feature chapels, accommodations for monks, colleges, the stupas, or tombs, of past Panchen Lamas and one of the largest gilded statues in the world, Future Buddha (found in the Chapel of Jampa).

This monastery is also the site of one of Tibet's biggest cultural celebrations, the Buddha Unfolding Festival. The festival centers around the debut of a giant, new thangka (Buddhist painting whose images aid followers in meditation and prayer). The unveiling of this vibrant and detailed depiction of Buddhist deities is meant to spread good fortune and peace. If you can, try to make it to this festival (typically held in the mid- to late summer) as throngs of pilgrims and Buddhists gather in excitement to witness the ceremony.

Even if you aren't able to make it to the festival, travelers say this monastery is definitely worth a visit. Visitors loved the village-like layout of the monastery, its peaceful atmosphere (some say it is less touristy than other monasteries they visited) and the beautiful art and architecture that permeated the grounds. And if you want to take your cultural immersion further, traverse the kora (or pilgrimage trail) set up on the grounds. Do note, however, that it can take up to an hour to complete. Travelers said it's important to know that you cannot take pictures in the complex unless you pay extra.

You can find the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, Tibet's second largest city found 168 miles west of Lhasa. Since you are not allowed to travel outside of Lhasa independently under the terms of your Tibet travel permit, you must have this city as a stop on your tour to visit. Admission to the monastery costs 55 yuan (about $8); the monastery is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit the monastery's website.

See all Hotels in Tibet »

More Best Things To Do in Tibet

Jokhang Temple1 of 6
Barkhor Street2 of 6
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Jokhang Temple

Alongside Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple is one of the most important sites in Tibet. The Jokhang Temple was built in the seventh century to promote Buddhism in Tibet, and as such earned the distinction of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Jokhang translates to "house of Buddha," or more specifically "chapel of the Jowo." And it lives up to its name. The temple houses more than 3,000 images of Buddha, deities and other historical figures in the religion, including the Jowo Shakyamuni.

Jowo Shakyamuni, or also referred to as the Jowo Rinpoche, is considered to be the most sacred image of Buddha in Tibet. It is said that the statue was sculpted by Vishwakarma – the Indian god of architecture – between the fifth and sixth century B.C., when Buddha was still believed to be alive. This has led to the belief that the Jowo Sakyamuni, as one of the earliest accounts of Buddha, is the most accurate visual representation of Buddha. Research has shown that this story is factually inaccurate, but that hasn't stopped crowds of Tibetans from coming to the temple to pray. The statue depicts Buddha the moment he reached enlightenment – legs in lotus position, one hand gesturing meditation with the other gesturing the "earth to witness."

Read more
Sino Images/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Tibet »

Explore More of Tibet

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

30 Top Florida Weekend Getaways

Spend sun-filled days exploring Florida's beautiful beaches, cities, parks and small towns.

Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019

The Top Pyramids in Mexico to Visit

Add these ancient marvels to your Mexico vacation itinerary.

Lyn MettlerOctober 28, 2019

30 Top Babymoon Destinations, Trips and Ideas

From romantic beach getaways to big city adventures to glamping in the forest, these locales will inspire your babymoon planning.

Gwen PratesiOctober 15, 2019

15 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

These tips will help pregnant women travel the world in comfort and style.

Holly JohnsonOctober 10, 2019