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“Beautiful Monastery On Mountainside”
Review of Ganden Monastery

Ganden Monastery
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Full-Day Tour of Ulaanbaatar With Museum and Black-market
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Private Day Trip of Shangri-La with Monastery Visit
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1 Day Tour of Ulaanbaatar City Including Lunch Option
Ranked #8 of 89 things to do in Lhasa
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Owner description: 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.
Huntington Beach, California
Level 6 Contributor
485 reviews
144 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 468 helpful votes
“Beautiful Monastery On Mountainside”
Reviewed August 21, 2014

While on a ten week journey through Asia, we visited this monastery about an hours drive away from Lhasa. We were in Lhasa for four days to help with acclimating in order to go to the Mt Everest Base Camp which is at 17,060 feet/ 5,200 meters. Our guides took us here for a 1/2 day visit before returning to our hotel is Lhasa. I looked upon the pending visit as we drove up the steep hills as another Monastery but it turned out to be one the prettiest of some forty that we visited on our trip.

At 14,067 feet, I found myself short of breath and so spent a lot of slow time walking around the monastery before trying the hill above it. It is well away from Lhasa and has wide aisles to walk around and is not crowded and cramped as many others which are easier to reach by car. After spending time looking at the various displays in the Monastery, I went up the trail that leads to the top of the mountain for a better view.

There is a small Chinese Army Military base just above the Monastery. Unfortunately, nothing to do with the Army but while looking down on the building, I managed to drop my lens hood and it went rolling far down among the bushes where it will remain.

Visited July 2014
1 Thank photoguy66degrees
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Houston, TX
Level 6 Contributor
198 reviews
75 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“On up to 13000 ft!”
Reviewed July 13, 2014 via mobile

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!

2 Thank PegJohnston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Level 6 Contributor
461 reviews
258 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 631 helpful votes
“Personal #1 @ 14,100 feet”
Reviewed June 18, 2014 via mobile

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?

Visited June 2014
3 Thank Vincent M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pune, India
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Worth the Trip”
Reviewed June 9, 2014

Took a trip out to Ganden and once we got there found that the trip was indeed worthwhile. Perched atop a mountain it sure is very majestic.

Visited June 2014
Thank SBSLidder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Delray Beach, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
859 reviews
521 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 515 helpful votes
“Temple in the Clouds”
Reviewed June 1, 2014

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.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank backpacker31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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