Tashilhunpo Monastery

Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama, is a historic and culturally important monastery in Shigatse, the second-largest city in Tibet. It Located on a hill in the center of the city, the full name in Tibetan of the monastery means "all fortune and happiness gathered here" or "heap of glory".

The monastery was sacked when the Gorkha Kingdom invaded Tibet and captured Shigatse in 1791 before a combined Tibetan and Chinese army drove them back as far as the outskirts of Kathmandu, when they were forced to agree to keep the peace in the future, pay tribute every five years, and return what they had looted from Tashi Lhunpo.

The monastery is the traditional seat of successive Panchen Lamas, the second highest ranking tulku lineage in the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The "Tashi" or Panchen Lama had temporal power over three small districts, though not over the town of Shigatse itself, which was adm Tashi Lhunpo in its heyday housed over 4,000 monks and had four Tantric colleges, each with its own Abbot. After the death of a Panchen Lama, these four abbots led the search for his infant reincarnation and one of them always acted as a prime minister of Tsang under the control of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa.

Since the early 1980s parts of the Tashi Lhunpo monastery have been open to the public and it is an important tourist attraction in Tibet today.

From the entrance to Tashilhunpo Monastery, visitors get a grand view. Above the white monastic quarters is a crowd of ochre buildings topped with gold – the tombs of the past Panchen Lamas. To the right, and higher still, is the great white wall that is hung with massive, colourful thangka during Tashilhunpo Thangka Unveiling Festival. Circumnavigating the compound is a 1hr kora that takes you into the hills behind Tashilhunpo Monastery.

As you explore the various buildings of Tashilhunpo Monastery, you will see a lot of photos of the 9th, 10th & 11th Panchen Lamas.

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