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Drepung Monastery

Brief / profile
Spreading an area of 250,000 square meters, the Drepung Monastery is the largest as well as one of the “Three Great Monasteries” (the others are the Ganden Monastery and Sera Monastery.) in Tibet.

It lies at the foot of the Gambo Utse Mountain, 5 km from the west of Lhasa City.

Why got its this name

The monastery looks like a huge heap of rice when you see it from a distance, thus it earns the name of Drepung Monastery since Drepung means a heap of rice in Tibetan.

Originally constructed by Tsong Khapa’s disciple Jamyang qoigyi in 1416, the Drepung Monastery was just a small monastery with only 7 monks living in it. As the time passed by, the monastery gradually became the largest monastery in Tibet with more than 10,000 monks in its prime time. In 1546, the 3rd Dalai Lama was invited to the monastery and considered to be the first living Buddha residing in. thus it served as the residence of Dalai Lamas before the construction of the Potala Palace the 5th Dalai Lama. Since it was the first living place of Dalai Lamas, the Drepung Monastery is considered as the mother monastery of Dalai Lamas.

Architecture / Structure / Each scenery.

Centered on 2 magnificent pagodas, the monastery mainly consists of 4 buildings namely Ganden Potrang, Cogen Hall, Kamcuns as well as 4 Zhacangs.
In the southwest of the monastery stands the Ganden Potrang built in 1530. It was the residence of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th as well as the 5th Dalai Lamas. It was used as the meeting room for the local regime after the 5th Dalai Lama left for the Potala Palace.
The Cogen Hall is in the center of the monastery. Walking on the stone stairs, you will see the Entrance Hall with a Sutra Hall which was colorfully decorated. In addition, there’re vivid statues of Buddha. On the 2nd floor places a large collection of valuable sutras.
The 4 Zhacangs in the Drepung Monastery was used as the sutra-learning places. Among them, the Loseling Zhacang is the largest one.
In addition, the Shoton Festival is the most important festival in the monastery. If you come here during this period, you will have a different touring experience.

Tourists can take bus No. 302 or No. 301 to get there. However, the best way to the Drepung Monastery is by taxi which will cost roughly RMB 20.

Admission fee.

The admission fee for this monastery is RMB 55.


It’s open to the public from 9:00 to 17:00 every day and the suggested time for a tour here is about 3 hours.