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Drepung Monastery
Drepung Monastery: 
Tibet - Lhasa; 
Travel in Lhasa, Tibet Drepung Monastery, the largest and richest monastery in Tibet, was founded in 1416 by a disciple of Tsong Khapa under the patronage of a noble family and later enlarged by the Fifth Dalai Lama. Drepung, which means rice heap in Tibetan, lies 8 kilometers west of Mt. Gambo Utse. The monastery covers a floor space of more than 200 thousand square meters. At its peak, it had a registration of more than 10,000 thousand monks. Many high and learned lamas had studied here.

The main structures of the monastery include the Main Assembly Hall (known as Tshomchen), four Tantric colleges and Ganden Palace (Ganden Potrang). The tshomchen of Drepung, covering 4,500 square meters and supported by 183 pillars in the center of the monastery, is the best known, most powerful tschomen of all the monasteries in Tibet. Gilded Buddha and Sakyamuni are enshrined and worshipped in this hall where the Iron Bar Lama, assistant to the the chief of the tshomchen, would take over administrative power of Lhasa during the Great Prayer Festival. Upstairs, a collection of valuable scriptures is kept. Northwest of the hall is a small hall in which a bronze Jowo Maitreya aged 8 is enshrined and worshiped. In front of Buddha, a conch shell, once used by Sakyamuni and hidden at Mt. Gambo Utse, is also worshipped. Later Tsong Khapa discovered it and bestowed it to his disciple to be the monastery's treasure. Four Tantric colleges in the monastery are the place where many Buddhist monks were trained. Each has a chanting hall; Loseling's, the largest, can seat 5,000 monks.

Monks in other colleges have to pass the sutra examination in order to learn Tantra, which is taught exclusively at Ngapa.

Ganden Potrang Palace was the regular residence of the Dalai Lamas before the reconstruction of Potala palace. The palace is divided into two sections. The front section is Dalai Lamas' living quarter and the rear is the chanting hall. On the first day of the grand Shonton Festival, ceremonies are held in the courtyard of this palace.

Admission Fee:   55  
Opening Hours: 09:10 to 12:00
Recommended Time for a Visit:  Three hours
Bus Route: The best way is to take a taxi which costs about 20
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