Tsurphu Monastery is a gompa which serves as the traditional seat of the Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located in Gurum in Doilungdêqên District, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, 70 kilometres (43 mi) from Lhasa.
The monastery is about 4,300 metres (14,100 ft) above sea level. It was built in the middle of the valley facing south with high mountains surrounding the complex.
Tsurphu is a 300-square-meter (3,200 sq ft) complex with walls up to 4 meters (13 ft) thick. The gompa, the traditional seat of the Karmapa lamas, is about 28 kilometres (17 mi) up the Dowo Lung Valley on the north side of the river. The original walls of the main building were up to 4 meters thick and 300 meters on each side (90,000 square meters or 970,000 square feet). The monks' residences were on the eastern side.
Tsurphu was founded by Düsum Khyenpa, 1st Karmapa Lama (1110-1193) in 1159, after he visited the site and laid the foundation for an establishment of a seat there by making offerings to the local protectors, the dharmapalas and territorial divinities (Wylie: yul lha). In 1189 he revisited the site and founded his main seat there. The monastery grew to hold 1000 monks.
The complex was totally destroyed in 1966 during the Cultural Revolution. Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa, began to rebuild it in 1980; he died in 1981.
Following the recognition of Ogyen Trinley Dorje (born 1985) as the 17th Karmapa by the Tai Situpa, the Dalai Lama and China's governmental offices, he was enthroned at Tsurphu and resided there until he escaped from Tibet to India in 2000.
Recommended Tour Itineraries Including Tsurphu Monastery
In order to drive off evil spirits and bless for peace, Tsurphu Cham Dance Festival which held in Tsurphu Monastery every year can date back to about one thousand years ago. The monks there will put on masks with faces of Tibetan Gods and dance with music. If you interested in myths and legends, how about join us to enjoy this visual feast in this ancient land?
This journey starts from exploring Lhasa city, then drive to Namtso for a ‘Heavenly Lake’ experience. On the way, you will enjoy the vast grassland and charming natural scenery. The last station is to head to Tsedang for discovering the "cradle of Tibetan civilization" and Samye Monastery, the first monastery in Tibet.