Ganden Monastery

Ganden Monastery, Lhasa

Ganden Monastery
Religious Sites
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9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Ganden Monastery, also known as Ganden Namgyeling, is one of the three great Gelug university monasteries (the other two are Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery) of Tibet, China. It was constructed in 1409 near Lhasa by the founder of the Gelug order, Je Tsongkhapa Lozang-dragpa. Back in 1958, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, took his last degree examination here. However, Ganden was destroyed after 1959, right now it has been partially rebuilt. Right now, there are several major constructions in the monastery, namely, the Lagyi Hall, Chitokang, Yangbagyain Hall, Xaze, Jamze Zhacang Buddhist Colleges and kamcuns and Myicuns. The Lagyi Hall is a 3-storey building. And it takes up 2,000 square meters and can contain 3,000 people at the same time.
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The area
Wangori Mountain, Dazi County, Lhasa 850100 China
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

127 reviews
Very good

New Delhi, India38 contributions
Dec 2019
One has to take a fairly long car trip through the mountain roads to visit and witness the grandeur of this beautiful monatery. Most of the monastery has been renovated and still undergoing renovation after being demolished in the cultural revolution. The monastery is one of the top three monasteries of significance in Tibet and is located at a beautiful location. Ganden in the local language stands for 'joyful'
Written January 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Vincent M
New Orleans, LA2,213 contributions
Jun 2014
I know it won't unseat the Potala Palace, but if a friend could go to only ONE religious site in Tibet, I would recommend Ganden.

Where many of the others are dark, cramped and congested, the Ganden Monastery is airy, light, and spacious. This is very much related to its being well out of the city, downriver, at the very top of a sacred mountain.

With an elevation of 14,100 feet, it's a good half mile higher than Lhasa and approximately the elevation of Mt Whitney. While I would not recommend someone suffering from acute mountain illness head to Ganden, oddly enough, it's far more easily accessible than religious sites at much lower elevations. From the plateau you take a switchback road up up up up till you're level with the most important structures. There's a few stairs, but not many.

This was the monastery where the great Tspngkapa lived, and taught, for decades. His funerary urn is as huge, and as fabulous, as the funerary.urn of the fifth Dalai Lama in Tibet. But there is a huge difference: here even though the faithful circle Tsongkapa's urn three times the casual tourist is not rushed at all, and can carefully observe all four sides of this priceless monument to Tsungkapa's memory.

Wonderful wall murals, wonderful metalwork, bright colors, and bracing mountain air. Colossal maitrsya, Buddha of longevity, and spectacular protective dieties.

Even though it's a long haul to reach, and despite some current construction at the end of the road, I say; do it, you won't regret it.

One last piece of advice; please refrain from pulling out your skateboard for the run back down the mountain road. Meet the Buddha of longevity halfway, eh?
Written June 19, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Minneapolis, MN44 contributions
Oct 2015 • Solo
Most people visit Drepung and Sera monasteries in Lhasa. Ganden is about a 90 minute drive outside the city, but very much worth it. It is set at the top of a (modest) mountain, which makes touring it and the surrounding scenery that much better. The monastery itself is like many other monasteries; it is Ganden's setting that differentiates it.

After you are done touring it, be sure to take some time to hike part way up the hill covered in prayer flags that rises above Ganden. The view of the monastery as a whole from the hill is spectacular.
Written November 8, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jakarta, Indonesia58 contributions
Nov 2014 • Friends
The position made this monastery remarkable. the dramatic view of Wangbur mountain. the architecture was unbelievable. the monks was very friendly. a lots of religious activities there so please be respect.
Written September 10, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Richmond, TX21 contributions
Jun 2015 • Family
This was far and away our favorite landmark we visited in or around Lhasa. The road up is exciting (lots of switchbacks), especially given the current construction and the number of big trucks on a tight road. The Monastery is lovely -- like a small village nestled high in the mountain top about an hour and a half drive outside of Lhasa. You can only wonder what life was/is like in this ancient city in the mountain. The hike around the mountain top, which takes about one hour, is breathtaking. Fantastic views of the valley below and home to a sky burial site. This was the only Monastery that we visited that felt like a working Monastery and not just for tourists. The two cons: the restrooms were the worst on our entire trip and they charge 20 yuan for every inside photo. But even despite those cons, this is the first place I would go back to on a return visit.
Written June 26, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Helen M
California106 contributions
Sep 2014 • Friends
The view unfolds in front of you as you ascend the mountain, one switch back after another to reach the monastery which is at about 12,500 feet. Still under construction, the path walking to the monastery was muddy and full of ruts. Once past that, our cameras never stopped clicking. One fabulous view after the other. We sat in on the monk's teaching session which we found very interesting. We asked our guide what the subject of debate was and he explained that it would be something like "which came first, the chicken or the egg?".
I would suggest either taking a lunch or waiting until you return to Lhasa to eat. The restaurant at the bottom of the monastery was awful (poor sanitation) and as we were eating swarms of dogs came around looking for crumbs and ended up in fights. The restaurant people come out and kick the snarling, growling dogs off each other. Dampens the appetite a bit.
Written March 26, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Singapore, Singapore164 contributions
Apr 2014 • Couples
This was my favorite monastery out of all the monasteries we visited in Tibet because of the fantastic views we managed to see while doing the kora around it.

Ganden Monastery lies on the outskirts of Lhasa, some 36km away from the city centre, and it also involves a fun drive up a very, VERY windy road. Be prepared to set aside at least half a day for Ganden: it would be a real waste to have to rush through sightseeing once you get there.

Ganden Monastery is still undergoing reconstruction work from the intense damage it sustained from the 1959 rebellion, and you can see some of the work being done by the hardworking Tibetans (i.e. we saw a whole roof of them dilligently fixing up the monastery's roof).

As a... "side effect" of the reconstruction work, we also noticed that many of the animals in the area have fur of various shades of red and pink, most likely due to the red dye that they use for the walls of the monastery.

If you go to Ganden, PLEASE do the kora around it. It is INCREDIBLE. For a city kid like me, it was a little nerve-wrecking at first to be walking along a narrow cliff's edge feeling like the strong winds blowing were going to cast me off down into the deep valley beneath, but well, we got over it. For the views, it is every bit well-worth the effort to conquer your fear of heights / trekking along cliffs; if I get the chance to go back there again, I intend to climb up the nearby peak from the carpark to get a panorama of the monastery AND the valley beneath it!
Written October 28, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kemah, TX221 contributions
Our second full day in Lhasa, we made this trek. On the road there we truly realized "we weren't in Kansas anymore". You have to go to the "facilities"???-----there aren't any----just be mentally prepared! After this experience, the rest of the potty breaks in fields, near rocks, at high passes to Mt Everest Base Camp were no big deal. The monastery was worth the drive!
Written July 13, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Boynton Beach, FL5,380 contributions
Aug 2013 • Solo
The 90 minute drive from Lhasa was incredible traveling along dry river beds and up switchback roads to the +/- 12,000foot high mountain monastery. It was amazing to see how the monks of today live in this remote/isolated environment that includes prayer/meeting halls, dormitories, throne rooms, chapels, shrines and classrooms. The separate, cliff -hugging meditation cave where monks would spend 3 years, 3 months and 3 days in complete solitude was humbling.
Written June 1, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Paris, France413 contributions
Sep 2013 • Couples
I wasn't particularly enthralled with ganden monastery, although I believe it is one of the most sacred and important ones out there. The setting on a mountaintop is quite unique - surrounded by a barren dusty village overlooking lush green mountains created an interesting contrast.

I found the burial area on the top of the mountain to be the most interesting aspect, where they literally feed the dead bodies to the vultures for lack of burial space.

RMB45 per person entrance
Written February 1, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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