Drepung Monastery, Lhasa, Tibet
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Drepung Monastery

Drepung Monastery, Tibet Drepung Monastery is seated at the foot of the mountain, Gambo Utse, in the western suburb of Lhasa City. It is the one of the Three Great Monasteries of Gelugpa, and also the most important one (the other two are Ganden Monastery and Sera Monastery ).
In 1416, Jamyang Qoigyi established Drepung Monastery. At the beginning, it had a very small area and only 7 monks. But it developed quickly and became the biggest and richest monastery of Gelugpa. During its period of full bloom, the magnificent Drepung Monastery had 141 manors and more than 540 pastures to support its 7, 700 monks. Today its area is about 200, 000 square meters (49 acres), covering almost a half of the hillside. Lining up row upon row, the white houses look like a huge heap of rice seen from a distant place. This is also why it was given the name, Drepung, which literally means a heap of rice in Tibetan. Before the extension of Potala Palace, Drepung Monastery was the place where each Dalai Lama resided. Hence, it is regarded as the mother monastery of Dalai Lamas. In 1546, the third Dalai was welcomed to be the first Living Buddha to reside in Drepung Monastery. He went to Qinghai later to preach Buddhism upon the invitation of the Mongolian King, and in 1578, he was given the honorific title of Dalai Lama by the Mongolian King. The Dalai Lama then titled his two former Dalai Lamas as well. The fifth Dalai was also living in the monastery until he was conferred by the Qing Government (1644-1911) and thus, moved to the magnificent Potala Palace. Afterwards, Drepung Monastery still maintains its scale and influence in Tibetan Gelugpa Buddhism.
Buddha Unfolding Festival in Drepung Monastery, Lhasa Shoton Festival is the most spectacular festival for Drepung Monastery. On this day, the grand ceremony is held to unveil a giant Thangka of Sakyamuni in Drepung Monastery. On June 30 th of the Tibetan calendar, thousands of Tibetan Buddhist followers, pilgrims and travelers gather on the mountain of Gambo Utse for the celebration of Shoton Festival. Monks of the monastery hang a giant veiled Sakyamuni Thangka of 20 meters (66 feet) in width and 30 meters (98 feet) in height onto the mountain. When the first morning glow appears, the Thangka begins to be unveiled slowly and gently. Tibetan people will then rush to contribute numerous Khatags (Hada) to the Buddha, as well worshipping the Buddha by touching Thangka using their hands, foreheads and bodies. Everyone will be bathing in a sacred and devout atmosphere. A large scale of Tibetan Operas will then follow the unveiling ceremony to continue the celebration in Norbulingka.
Admission Fee: CNY 55
Opening Hours: 09:10 to 12:00

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