Ten km west of Lhasa is one of the most important monasteries in Tibet. A pilgrimage trail leads up to Drepung, that was built in 1416 by a follower of Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelug Order, which is the earliest of the four main doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism.
The route to the monastery is quite arduous, at an altitude of 5,600 metres, the air is very thin. Along the way there are various colorful rock illustrations that give a foretaste of the Drepung Monastery.
Drepung was once the richest monastery in the whole of Tibet and even with the country’s troubled history, the monastery buildings are still very impressive. Fortunately, the complex was only slightly damaged during the Cultural Revolution, thus the throne of the Dalai Lama has remained in tact.
The subsequent Cultural Revolution brought about much social change and most of the monks escaped and sought exile abroad.
Thankfully, despite the political situation in Tibet, the monastery complex of Drepung still shines out in all of its glory.
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