Drak Yerpa is only a short drive to the east of Lhasa, Tibet, and consists of a monastery and a number of ancient meditation caves that used to house about 300 monks. It’s located on a hillside in Dagzê County. The entrance to the Yerpa Valley is about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) northeast of Lhasa on the northern bank of the Kyichu. From there, it is another 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the famous ancient meditation caves in the spectacular limestone cliffs of the Yerpa Valley. There is an ancient sky burial site opposite the main caves.
The famous legendary hero Gesar of Ling is said to have visited the valley. The holes his arrows left in the cliffs are believed to be evidence of his presence.
There are a number of small temples shrines and hermitages and the cliffs contain some of the earliest known meditation sites in Tibet, some dating back to pre-Buddhist times. Among the more famous are those traditionally connected with Songtsen Gampo (604–650 CE), (traditionally the 33rd king of the Yarlung Dynasty and first emperor of a united Tibet). His Tibetan queen, Monza Triucham, founded the Dra Yerpa temple here.
He and his two foreign-born queens are said to have meditated in the 'Peu Marsergyi Temple' and in the 'Chogyel Puk', and to have discovered 'self-originated' symbols of the Buddha-body, speech and mind. Padmasambhava, or Guru Rinpoche (late 8th to early 9th century), meditated and practiced tantric yoga with his yogini Yeshe Tsogyal here, and to have spent 7 months in meditation in the 'Dawa Puk', which is considered to be one of his three most important places of attainment. After Lhalung Pelgyi Dorje assassinated the anti-Buddhist Bon Emperor Langdarma in 842 CE he is said to have hidden himself in a cave and meditated for 22 years. His hat was kept there until 1959.
Yerpa became one of the three most important centres of meditation and retreat in Central Tibet. Several of Guru Rinpoche's disciples are also said to have meditated here. Atisha (982 – 1054 CE) preached extensively in the valley. Atisha's hermitage is in ruins but had 300 monks in the 19th century and was the summer quarters for the Ramoche Monastery (the Upper Tantric College).
Later histories record that both Songtsen Gampo and Trisong Detsen (756–797) founded temples at Yerpa, and Klu-mes Tshul-khrims did some refurbishing in the 11th century. Tradition says that after Songtsen Gampo's only son, Gungri Gungsten, was born to Mangza Tricham, Princess of Mang, one of his wives: "A shrine and a stupa dedicated to the tutelary deity of mother and son were built upon the lap of a rocky mountain that resembled a seated image of the Holy Tara in the region of Yerpa."
Recommended Tour Itineraries Including Drak Yerpa
The tour will take you to some great cities in Tibet and show you the dreamy natural views and the origin of Tibetan Buddhism. After a 4-day visiting in Lhasa, you will head to the east and discover the symbols of the Tibet culture then enjoy the two of top three holy lakes.
This is relatively an easy route for travelers. After 2 days of essential sightseeing tour in Lhasa, tourists will go to Shigatse passing through Gyantse, then stay overnight at the lakeside of Namtso - the holiest lake in Tibet. At last, enjoy a hot spring bath in Yampachen on the way back to Lhasa.
This is a tour of exploring the Tibetan culture. You can visit all the influential monasteries, palaces, temples in Yarlung Valley, which is considered as “the cradle of Tibetan civilization”. You can also see Tibetan incense and engraving workshops in Nyemo County – the birthplace of Tibetan language.
Chengdu-Lhasa train (No. T22/T23) is absolutely the great bridge connecting the east and west of China. It covers 3360km which is full of incredible views, such as the fruitful plain, snow-capped mountains, endless grassland, desolate desert, etc. After around 41:31 hours, you will finally arrive in Lhasa and start an essential sightseeing tour.
Lhasa - Tsetang - Nyingtri -Pomi - Nyingtri - Lhasa - Lake Namtso - Ali - Darchen - Mt.Kailash - Lake Manasarovar - Saga - EBC - Shigatse - Gyantse - Lhasa
This exciting tour covered most of the tourist attractions in Tibet. It’s a great chance to gain insights into the beautiful views, culture and Tibetan Buddhism of the holy land. As a long adventure on the high Plateau, this journey is for warriors who are strong-willed and fearless.