Sera Monastery

Address: North Suburb Mountains Lhasa City Tibet
Entrance Fee: 35 RMB
Operating Hours: 7:00 – 19:00

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Introduction

Sera Monastery which located about two kilometers to the north of Lhasa is one of the Three Greatest Monasteries in Lhasa together with Ganden Monastery and Drepung Monastery. In fact, sera means wild rose in Tibetan language. This was because the hill behind the monastery was fully bloomed with wild roses when the monastery was built, and thus, the Sera Monastery obtained its name. The Sera Monastery, as a complex of structures with Great Assembly Hall and three colleges were founded by Jamchen Chojey, a disciple of Tsong Khapa in year 1419 within the reign of Ming Dynasty.
Sera Monastery which covers an area of over 110000 square meters possesses magnificent exterior and is a sacred place for the believers. Three main architecture of the complex are made up with Coqen Hall Tsokchen (Great Assembly Hall), Zhacangs (Colleges) and Kamcun (Dormitory). All these halls are decorated with unparalleled murals, scent cloths, fine statues as well as scriptures written in gold powder. The debates on Buddhist doctrines that are held here every now and then has made the monastery to be outstanding when compared with the rest of famous monasteries throughout Lhasa.
Coqen Hall Tsokchen (Great Assembly Hall)
The Great Assembly Hall, a four-storey structure that lies at the northeast side of the monastery was built in year 1710. The hall was set to be facing east where several rituals and rites are conducted. The hall has covered an area of 2000 square meters with all together 125 pillars inside in which 86 tall and 39 short. There are five chapels within this building which enshrine either statues or images of Maitreya, Shakyamuni, Arhats, Tsongkhapa, and Kwan-yin with one thousand hands and eleven faces.
Zhacangs (Colleges)
There are three colleges within Sera Monastery which consists of Sera Me Tratsang, Sera Je Tratsang and Ngkapa Tratsang. Sera Me Tratsang which was established in year 1419 within the reign of Ming Dynasty is the oldest college here. The college was initially for elementary or basic education in Buddhism religion. However, the building had encountered a lightning struck and reconstruction project was taken place in year 1761. After refurbishment, the hall is built with 70 pillars and housed a galaxy of statues of Buddhist gurus with the main deity of Shakyamuni Buddha made in copper. There are some other Bodhisatvas which were enshrined here such as the Maitreya, Manjushri, Amatyas, Bhavishyaguru, Tsongkhapa (with his students), Dalai Lama VII, Pawanga Rinpoche and several other past teachers of the college.
Sera Je Tratsang which covered an area of 17000 square meters is on the other hand the largest college within the Sera Monastery. It was primarily built as a three-storey building and later a forth floor was added to the entire building in 18th century. A statue of the Hayagriva which was considered as the protective deity of the monastery can be found here. On top of that, Ngkapa Tratsang was the smallest among the three colleges within Sera Monastery. The original three-storey building was constructed in year 1419 and it was refurbished in the 18th century by Lhazang Qan.
Kamcun (Dormitory)
Kamcun (Dormitory) are the main dwelling units or dormitories that house the monks of the monastery. Thirty three Kamcuns with different sizes can be found surrounding the central courtyard of Sera Monastery. The strength of the monks that housed inside would determine the size of the kamcun. Although several monks might be housed together, each of the mink is given a separate cell anyway. A prayer hall for exclusive study of Buddhist doctrine as well as an annexed tea house can be found in each Kamcun too.
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