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Samye Monastery

Brief / profile

With an area of 4,900 square meters, the Samye Monastery is the first Buddhist monastery founded in Tibet as well as a spotlight of a tour of Tibet.


It’s situated at the foot of Hepo Ri Mountain, to the north of Tsangpo River and about 38 km from Tsetang.


The construction of the monastery began under the supervision of the Tibetan king Trisong Detsen in 779 AD. Later, the construction work transferred to Padmasambhavea-the famous Buddhist master. After its founding, it has become a national treasure.
However, during the China Cultural Revolution, the Smaye Monastery was under serious damage. Nowadays, it has been renovated and is under the State’s special protection.

Architecture / Structure / Each scenery

Modeled after the Indian temple of Odantapuri in Bihar, The huge monastery complex is surrounded by a strong wall. The main temple in the center stands for Meru Mountain-a mythical mountain in the middle of the Buddhist universe. The temple is a grand 6-story building. The first floor is the most attractive with old mandalas on the high ceiling. Moreover, there’re 4 huge chortens in 4 different colors lying at the corners of the main temple. The second floor is an open roof area for monks and locals to do craft work. Besides, the third floor houses the quarters of the Dalai Lama with a small anteroom, throne room as well as a bedroom. the top floors have few scenic spots to see, but you can get fantastic view from the balconies.


It’s really convenient to get to the monastery from the downtown area. You can take a bus to Samye Ferry and then transfter to a boat. From the other end of the river, you can take special monastery bus which will take you to your destination.

It’s open to the public from 9:00 to 16:00 and half a day is enough for a complete tour here. besides, a flashlight is necessary if you’d like to visit the murals.