The significant though small Drolma Lhakhang Monastery is jam-packed with ancient relics and hidden treasures. It’s only 30mins drive southwest of Lhasa and is worth a stop for those interested in Tibetan Buddhism.
As you take the Lhasa-Tsetang road out of Lhasa, you’ll pass a blue rock carving of Sakyamuni Buddha at the base of a cliff abt 11km southwest of town. Nyetang village and the monastery are abt 6km further on, between kilometer markers 4662 and 4663.
Drolma Lhakhang is associated with the Bengali scholar Atisha (982~1054). Atisha came to Tibet at the age of 53 at the invitation of the Guge kingdom in western Tibet and his teachings were instrumental in the so-called second diffusion of Buddhism in the 11th century. Drolma Lhakhang Monastery was established at this time by one of Atisha’s foremost disciples, Dromtonpa, who also founded the Kadampa order, to which the monastery belongs, it was here at Netang that Atisha died at age 72.
The 11th-century Drolma Lhakhang Monastery was spared desecration by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution after a direct request from Bangladesh (which now encompasses Atisha’s homeland). Chinese premier Zhou Enlai intervened on its behalf.