The Ganden Monastery, built in the year 1409, was the first and the most typical monastery of the Gelugpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism (also known as the Yellow Hat Sect) and remains the power center of this sect today. The word "Ganden" means "joy" in Tibetan and is also the name for the "western heavens" where the Maitreya Buddha (the Future Buddha) resides. Among the successive leaders of this sect who have come to be known as the Ganden Tripa, a post earned through scholastic achievement, the Dalai Lama is the most famous member of this sect.
The Monastery was heavily damaged during Cultural Revolution bombings, making the place somewhat depressing. Work is underway to repair the damaged buildings of the monastery, so that Ganden Monastery is being quickly restored to its must-see status as one of Lhasa's most impressive monasteries. Seek out the Golden Throne Room of the Dalai Lama. Placed upon the throne, there is a cloth bag containing his yellow hat that he left behind in his escape to exile in India.
There are many burial stupas on the grounds of the Monastery, the most noteworthy of which is the Tomb of the Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa Sect. The Tsongkhapa's preserved body used to sit meditatively in the stupa, but the body was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. All that remains today are a few enshrined skull fragments.
Opening Hours: 9:00 -- 12:00 break 14:00 -- 16:00
Ticket Price: 40 CNY
Location: Dazhi County, Lhasa
Transportation: Shuttle bus from Jokhang Monastery (7:00 in the morning) will bring you here (20 CNY/ 2 hours).