Introduction to Drepung Monastery (哲蚌寺)
Located at the foot of Mount Gephel, Drepung Monastery is one of the "great three" Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet. The other two are Ganden and Sera. Drepung is especially known as the site of the annual Shoton Festival, with its dramatic unfurling of a giant thangka painting on the hillside. Drepung is the largest of all Tibetan monasteries and is located on the Gambo Utse mountain, five kilometers from the western suburb of Lhasa, Tibet.
Freddie Spencer Chapman reported, after his 1936-37 trip to Tibet, that Drepung was at that time the largest monastery in the world, and housed 7,700 monks, "but sometimes as many as 10,000 monks." Since the 1950s, Drepung Monastery, along with Ganden and Sera Monastery have lost much of their independence and spiritual credibility in the eyes of Tibetans since they operate under the close watch of the Chinese security services. All three were re-established in exile in the 1950s in Karnataka state in south India. Drepung and Ganden are in Mundgod and Sera is in Bylakuppe.
Mount Gephel, Lhasa
Admission Fee: 55 Yuan
Ganden Potrang, Coqen Hall, The Four Zhacangs
1. The monastery is open all year but August is a great time to visit because of the Shoton Festival that usually takes place at that time.
2. You must walk from right to left clockwise in the temple.
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