Tibet is a scintillating and unexampled land which regards its religion and spirituality as its top priority. The moment you enter Tibet, you will be able to make out that Buddhism is prevalent here. Huge and stunning Tibetan temples and monasteries are not the only place where you can see religious arts and artifacts.
In fact, you will see a religious tinge in almost every man-made object thing in Tibet. But still the temples and monasteries are the center of religious activities and gatherings. All these temples have a different aura about them.
Sanctity of Jokhang Temple
View of the Jokhang Temple. [Photo from poco.cn by Lu Hailin]
The most important monastery to Tibetan is the Jokhang Temple located in the Barkhor Street in central Lhasa, an old street dating back to 7th century and witnessing pilgrims praying day by day.
The temple was built in the year 647 by the legendary king Songtsen Gampo. The temple consists of lavishly decorated halls and rooms. The main hall has a statue of Sakyamuni, which is probably the most respected statue in Tibet. You will find a huge crowd of visitors almost all days of the year. Apart from pilgrims, tourists also throng to this place.
How magnificent Samye Monastery can be
Samye Monastery, located in the Lhoka Prefecture, is also equally important to the people of Tibet. They say if you see the complete temple, you would have traveled the entire universe. And to be honest, virtually you do.
This structure of the monastery copies the formation of universe. The grand Wuzi hall in the center represents Mount Meru, the central world. The chapels in north and south of the hall are considered to be Sun and Moon respectively. There are many smaller yet classically decorated halls that represent the continents of the world. The uniquely designed monastery is also famous for the various murals on the walls of the monastery and ancient artifacts that are well preserved and can be found only in this monastery.
Can there be anything more grand then Tashilhunpo Monastery
Built in the year 1447, Tashilhunpo Monastery has become a prominent landmark on the face of Shigatse, which is the second largest city in Tibet.
The monastery has been the seat of Panchen Lama for hundreds of years. The monastery witnesses the largest number of visitors during the Buddha Thangka Display Festival which is held on every 14, 15 and 16 of May according to Tibetan calendar. If possible you too should make a trip to this monastery during these days, the festival sights are really amazing.
Inside the monastery, just walk around and you will come across Maitreya hall, the most important of the monastery, where you will see the biggest statue of sitting Maitreya Buddha statue. The hall has different floors, so go to the top floor from where you will get the best view of the statue. The monastery is a must visit for all who come to Tibet.
Is Palkhor Monastery called a divine illusion?
Situated in Shigatse around 230 km from Lhasa, Palkhor Monastery is also called Baiju Monastery (Chinese name). The temple is famous for the incredible combinations of temple and stupa that was once seen in monasteries from 13th to 15th century.
You will find its main attraction, the Myriad Buddhas Stupa to be immensely ravishing. The stupa has more than 3000 statues in it of many legendary icons from Divine Buddha to famous King Songtsen Gampo. With time, the monastery has become a favored tourist destination and you just can't afford to miss it.
Sakya Monastery - can magic be carved in stones!
This monastery for sure has to be the most treasured part of Tibetan soil. The monastery, built in 1073 and having more than 900 years of history is considered as the "Second Danhuang".
The monastery houses around 3000 pieces of sutras and precious work of art that are over thousand years old. The main attraction of the monastery is the Lakhang Chenmo hall that covers more than 5500 sq. m. and has 40 huge pillars. Even the big Chanting Sutra Hall is going to leave you spellbound by its sheer size. The monastery is specially going to be a wonderful treat for all antique and artifact lovers.
Temples and monasteries in Tibet are the timeless treasure that everyone should see and experience at least once in one's life. No place in the entire world is so dedicated to its religion as Tibet. This is evident from the numbers of monasteries and the effort put into preservation.