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Tashilhunpo Monastery

Located on the southern slope of the Nyima Mountain to the west of the Shigatse city and coversing an area of nearly 300,000 square meters, Tashilhunpo Monastery is one of the Six Big Monasteries of Gelugpa in Tibet and the biggest Tibetan Gelugpa Buddhism monastery in back Tibet area (Shigatse area). As the seat of the Panchen Lama, Tashilhunpo was founded by the First Dailai Lama in 1447 and was expanded by the Fourth and successive Panchen Lamas. There are now nearly 800 lamas. The main structures found in the Tashilhunpo Monastery are The Maitreya Chapel, The Panchen Lama's Palace and The Kelsang Temple. One can find the world’s biggest statue of sitting Maitreya Buddha inside the Maitreya chapel which can be divided into five floors. The statue which was handcrafted by 900 craftmen in 9 years, stands 26.2 meters (86 ft) high and is decorated with gold, copper, pearl, amber, coral, diamond and other precious stones.

The Panchen Lama's Palace is a grand white palace mainly built during the reign of the Six Panchen Lama (1738-1780). It is still closed to tourists and local visitors alike. To the east of the Palace lies the Stupa-tomb of the Fourth Panchen Lama who is one of the most famous Lamas in Tibetan history. He is also the teacher of the Fifth Dalai Lama. His gorgeous stupa-tomb built in 1662, decorated with gold and silver was the first stupa-tomb in Tashilhunpo.The Kelsang Temple is one of the oldest and biggest buildings in Tashilhunpo. The Main Chanting Hall is a place for lamas to learn the sutras and listen to the Panchen Lama's sermon. On the back end of the hall lies a 5 meters (16 ft) high statue of Sakyamuni. It is said that a part of Sakyamuni's relics was placed in it.

The Great Courtyard of the Kelsang Temple is the place for lamas to practice and debate. The wall around the courtyard is covered by thousands of images of Sakyamuni in different postures and expressions. Besides the grand palaces and gigantic statues, Tashilhunpo Monastery also treasures characteristic murals. Because of the variety of shapes, resplendent colors and exquisite painting, the murals are considered to be another masterpiece of Buddhist art. Rare sutras, thangka, china are also invaluable for the Tashilhunpo monastery. These are good relics for researching the history and society of Tibet. Here are some guide information for your tour to Tashilhunpo Monastery. Address: West of the Shigatse city. Admission Fee: CNY 55 Openning Hours: 09:00 to 17:00 (closed for lunch from 12:00 to 14:00) Contact Number: 86- 10-85968802

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