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Sera Monastery
Sera Monastery: 
Tibet - Lhasa; 
Travel in Lhasa, Tibet Sera, one of the three largest monasteries of Gelugpa, sits at the foothills of Tatipu. It is as prestigious as Drepung and Ganden, which both have longer histories. Sera, in Tibetan, means "Wild Rose Garden" since opulent wild rose woods once grew around it. A legend says that Tsong Khapa and his two disciples traveled in the area, spreading their religion. One day, they heard a horse whinnying underground when they were taking a walk in the rose woods. They dug up a statue of Hynagriva (a horse-headed demon-god) and Tsong Khapa began construction of a monastery to enshrine Hynagriva. However, the truth is that in 1414, Jamchen Chojey (or Sakya Yeshe), one of Tsong Khapa's disciples, visited Emperor Chengzu as Tsong Khapa's emissary. The Emperor Chengzu granted him a title of Dharma King of Great Mercy, sutras, and a set of sandalwood Arhats. In order to preserve them, Tsong Khapa instructed Jamchen Chojey to build a monastery to house the treasures. The Sera monastery was completed in 1419.

Sera is designed around a Main Assembly Hall, or Tshomchen in Tibetan, which is the grandest hall of Sera, occupying a floor space of 1,000 square meters. The four-storied hall has four chapels in which Arhats, Manjushri, Tsong Khapa, and Chenrezi are enshrined. Later, a huge Maitreya was enshrined in the hall during the reign of the Seventh Dalai Lama. The valuable Buddhist sutras that Jamchen Chojey brought back from Beijing are kept in a sutra pigeonhole adjacent to the hall.

Sera houses three colleges as well as Drepung and Ganden. Sera Me college was the first one built, in 1419. It was later destroyed by a lightening strike, but restored in 1761. Its Chanting hall is remarkable. Sera Me is prestigious for its fine, undamaged murals.

Sera Je college was first founded in 1435 and expanded by a Mongol king in seventeenth century. The building has five stories, covering a space of a thousand square meters. Its main hall contains 11 stupas of Ganden tripas and Ratreng tripas. The original Hynagriva statue is enshrined in its Hynagriva Chapel.

Ngagpa college was established in 1559. The smallest of the three colleges, it houses its founder Jamchen Chojey's statue in its chanting hall. The set of sandalwood Arhats granted to the monastery is housed in this college. For the sake of perfect preservation, they are encased in the bellies of a set of clay Arhats which have been authenticated as the original ones.

Sera's collection of murals is maintained in perfect, original condition. Its statues of Maitreya, Bodhisattvas, and Arhats are very noteworthy. Scriptures written in gold powder, scroll paintings, a tapestry portrait of Jamchen Chojey, and thangkas can be seen throughout Sera.

Admission Fee:   55  
Opening Hours: 09:00 to 16:00
Recommended Time for a Visit:  Two hours
Bus Route: It costs 15 to take a taxi to go, however, you can bargain with the taxi driver.
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Sera Monastery
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