Trandruk Monastery is one of the earliest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, having been founded at the same time as the Jokhang Monastery and Ramoche Monastery in Lhasa. Dating back to the 7th century reign of Songtsen Gampo, it is also one of Tibet’s demoness-subduing temples. In order to build the monastery here, Songtsen Gampo had first to take the form of a hawk in order to overcome a local dragon, a miracle that is commemorated in the monastery’s name. Trandruk Monastery was significantly enlarged in the 14th century and again under the auspices of the 5th and 7th Dalai Lamas.
The entrance of the monastery opens into a courtyard area ringed by cloisters. The building to the rear of the courtyard has a ground plan similar to that of the Jokhang.
The principle chapel, to the rear center, holds a statue of Tara known as Drolma Sheshema, next to the 5 Dhyani buddhas. The Tuje Lhakhang to the right has statues of Chenresig, Jampelyang and China Dorje, who form the Tibetan trinity known as the Rigsum Gompo. The stove to the right is said to have belonged to Princess Wencheng, the Chinese wife of Songtsen Gampo.
Upstairs and to the rear is a central chapel containing a famous Thangka of Chenresig made up of 29,000 pearls as well as an ancient applique Thangka showing Sakyamuni.