Tashi Lhunpo Monastery
Tashi Lhunpo is one of Tibet's most revered and influential monasteries, lying about a mile (2km) to the west of Shigatse at the base of Drolmari Mountain. It dates from 1477, having been founded by the first Dalai Lama, and became the seat of the Panchen Lama (Tibet's second most important spiritual leader) in 1713. The monastery today houses about 800 monks in its 3,229 square foot (300 sq m) buildings. The oldest section of the monastery is the main chanting hall that houses the throne of the Panchen Lama. The tallest section is the Maitreya Chapel, which contains the world's largest brass statue of Maitreya. The seated figure is 86 feet (26m) high and has been decorated with gold, pearl, amber, copper, coral, diamonds, and many other precious stones. It is said that it took 900 craftsmen nine years to complete the statue. The Tashi Lhunpo Monastery boasts many other treasures, including the remarkable Thanka Wall, which is nine floors high and was built by the first Dalai Lama. The wall is used to display massive images of Buddha on important days in the Tibetan Lunar Calendar. There are also exquisite wall paintings, or murals, to be found within the monastery.
Address: 7 Jijilangka Road, Shigatse
Telephone: 892 882 2933
Opening times: Daily 9am-5pm (closed 12pm-2pm).