* The largest and most influential monastery of Gelupa sect (Yellow Hat) of Tibetan Buddhism.
* TEL: 0891-6860011
Situated on the slope of the wuze Hill in Genbei, five kilometers northwest suburb of Lhasa, Drepung Monastery is known as the most important temple of Gelug Sect of Buddhism as well as the largest temple in the world. It is considered one of the "Three Great Temples" of Tibet along with Sera Monastery and Ganden Monastery. Covering an area of 250,000 square meters, it held 7,700 monks in total and possessed 141 fazendas and 540 pastures in its heyday. Seen from afar, its grand, white construction gives the temple the appearance of a heap of rice. As such, it was given the name "Drepung Temple" which, in the Tibetan language, means Temple of Collecting - Rice.
Drepung Monastery was founded in 1416 by Jamyang Chojey who was famous as the disciple of Je Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelukpa School. Initially Drepung was a small monastery that covered an area of around 10 square meters and held 7 monks in total. By the first half of 17 century, the fifth Dalai Lama started to expand this monastery and constructed it a large temple. It was said that this monastery can accommodate up to 10,000 monks in its heyday. So far, it has developed into the world’s largest monastery with an area of 250,000 square meters.
Historically, Drepung Monastery is said to be the mother temple of famous monks and Buddhas. It was the residence of Dalai Lamas (the second, third and fourth Dalai have lived here). Lukhang Lobsang Gyatso (the fifth Dalai Lama) had also lived here before he was canonized as Dalai Lama by the emperor of China’s Qing Dynasty (After being canonized in 1653, the fifth Dalai Lama moved to the Potala Palace).
Drepung is now divided into what are known as the seven great colleges: Gomang (sGo-mang), Loseling (Blo-gsal gling), Deyang (bDe-dbyangs), Shagkor (Shag-skor), Gyelwa (rGyal-ba) or Tosamling (Thos-bsam gling), Dulwa (‘Dul-ba), and Ngagpa (sNgags-pa). It can be a somewhat useful analogy to think of Drepung as a university along the lines of Oxford or the Sorbonne in the Middle Ages, the various colleges having different emphases, teaching lineages, or traditional geographical affiliations.