Narthang Monastery, built by monk Tumtön Lodrö Drakpa in 1033, is 20 km away from Shigatse. It is not so magnificent as Tashilhunpo Monastery, yet 400 years older than it. As one of the famous monastery in Shigatse, Nartang Monastery belongs to the Yellow sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Although the area of Nartang Monastery is small, the history of this monastery is long. In this monastery, you can find some cherish and outstanding Buddhism documents and works. Therefore, it is also crowned as “The Library of Tibet”.
The most famous of Narthang Monastery are the workshops for printing Buddhist sutras. In 1730, the local government of Tibet started the creation of the printing house in order to save and carry on the Tibet ancient books and scriptures. It took more than 20 years to complete this huge scripture printing house. To complete this grand project, all Tibetan people provided their support in their own way. Calligraphers, carvers and painters and groups of young people gathered together to learn printing technology. Through long-term efforts, the scripture printing house of Natang Monastery produced many great Tibetan works.
The scripture printing house has a larger scale and contribution than that of the Potala Palace. At the same time, a great number of Tibetan printing workers were trained in the scripture printing house of Narthang Monastery, playing an immeasurable role in inheriting and developing the printing and culture of Tibet.
After Narthang Monastery was completed, many famous monks stayed and studied here, such as Qinmu Langgazha, the chief master of Chogyal Phakpa lived here; the 1st Dalai Lama Genguozhuba was initiated into monkhood and learned Buddha doctrine here for 17 years, and moved to Shigatse after Tashilhunpo Monastery was built.
It was destroyed once, and 3 halls were built on the ruins in 1987. The halls preserved 7 stone sculptures of 16 arhats, a pair of a footprint left by the 8th abbot Jutun Menlangcuocheng at 30 years old and 8,800 pieces of cultural relics.
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