A Pilgrimage Tour to Tibet: 9 Must-visit Holy Monasteries

#1 Potala Palace 

In the center of Lhasa, Potala Palace is the most famous landmark in Tibet and a grand museum of Tibetan culture. Tibet’s largest and best-preserved ancient castle, holy stupas and Tibetan Buddhist temple, Potala Palace is also a masterpiece of ancient architecture in the world.  

Panorama view of Potala Palace

#2 Jokhang Temple

Ever since its establishment 1300 years ago, Jokhang Temple has been recognized the supremacy of Tibetan Buddhist and made Lhasa the ‘holy city’. Its 5 golden roofs and 108 halls keep all kinds of Buddhist treasures and draw numerous devout pilgrimages every day.

Jokhang Temple Lhasa

Pilgrims praying before Jokhang Temple

#3 Gandan Monastery

The first of the six great Gelugpa sect monasteries, Gandan Monastery was built in 1409, and was home to 4000 lamas. There are rare treasures of 24 elaborate embroideries of Buddha Shakyamuni, the eighteen arhats and four heavenly kings that will be displayed to the public at regular time every year. 

Flowers around Gandan Monastery

#4 Drepung Monastery

In the west suburb of Lhasa, Drepung Monastery has many Buddhist activities and festivals. The most magnificent is the festival of Sun Buddha held during Shonton Festival - huge thangka paintings bask in the morning sun, followed by various traditional Tibetan activities. 

Sun Buddha Festival in Drepung Monastery

#5 Sera Monastery

3 km south of Lhasa, Sera Monastery is another famous Gelugpa sect monastery and was built in 1419. It keeps thousands of Buddhas and is home to 500 monks who debate Buddhist scriptures every afternoon.

Debate Buddhist scriptures in Sera Monastery

Sera Monastery in Lhasa

#6 Tsurphu Monastery

The Reincarnation of the Living Buddhas originated in Tsurphu Monastery - the major temple of Karma Kagyu. Thus it preserves many precious Tibetan Buddhist relics. 

Tsurphu Monastery in Lhasa

#7 Drak Yerpa Monastery

Mysterious Drak Yerpa Monastery is hidden in the sacred land of Lhasa and surprisingly embedded in the cliff embraced by stunning natural scenery. 

Mysterious Drak Yerpa Monastery

Drak Yerpa Monastery in Lhasa

#8 Drigung Til Monastery

For over 800 years, the temple has seen the soul coming out of the body and reaching the shore. Drigung has one of the world’s three most famous ‘sky burial sites’. 

Drigung Til Monastery Lhasa

#9 Rongbuk Monastery

World’s highest temple above sea level (around 5100 m), it offers breathtaking scenery of Mt. Everest.

Rongbuk Monastery to Overlook Mt. Everest 

Rongbuk Monastery and Tibetan People

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