Why is the Tashilhunpo Monastery special?
Tashilunpo Monastery was founded in 1447 and is the largest Yellow Hat sect monastery in Tibet. Shigaste is Tibet’s 2nd most important city and Tashilunpo was the seat of the Panchen Lamas. Tashilunpo contains chortens, temples and the Panchen Lama’s palace.
Tashilhunpo Monastery is the biggest functioning monastery in Tibet and one of the 6 biggest Gelukpa monasteries.At its peak, Tashilunpo had more than 4,000 monks in its 4 monasteries. Upon the death of a Panchen Lama, it was the 4 abbots of these monasteries that would lead the search for his infant reincarnation.
Tashilhunpo Monastery Highlights
The monastery has lots of residents for monks and temples, of course. The tallest building of the monastery is Maitreya Temple, which houses a gigantic Maitreya Buddha statue. Statue has 26.2m height and contains 279 kg gold, 150.000 kg copper, and lots of precious stones… The building is not big enough to see it all. We just wandered around and combined the pieces on our minds. Like many other temples, it was forbidden to take photos here.
The Love Of Gardening
You can see the love of gardening here, too. This is something I witnessed almost in all monasteries in Tibet. Like a fight against the yellow, infertile lands of Tibet, there were colorful flowers in the monasteries. If you were lucky, you will encounter female monks, Bhikkhuni here. They are so few, so this was like a big prize.
In the inner courts of monks’ residents, all the houses are opening to the same square court with a well and there are lots of courts on our way down to exit. Before leaving the monastery, we learned that there was a ritual, a dance show (which usually tells the Buddhist stories) on an area by the monastery and headed there.
Building In The Monastery
The monastery is a striking red, white and black Tibetan structure with a golden roof. Within the monastery there is a 5 story temple, which contains a 26 meters (86ft) sitting statue of the Maitreya Buddha. The statue was cast from 6,700 ounces of gold and over 115,000 kg of copper, making it the biggest copper Buddhist statue in the world