* The most important sky burial site monastery
Established in 1167, Drigung Til Monastery is about 200km away northeast of Lhasa. It (alt.4300 meters) sprouts from a high, steep ridge overlooking the Drigung Valley. A steep thread of a path makes its way up into the monastic complex, although there is also vehicle access from the eastern end of the valley. The 180-degree views from the main courtyard are impressive and a serene stillness pervades the site.Though the monastery suffered some damage, like other monasteries. However, the damage of monastery is not as severe as others. Thus the shape of the monastery is better than most of the other monastic centers in this part. It has the most famous sky burial site in central Tibet.
It is the head monastery of the Drigungpa School of the Kagyupa order of Tibet Buddhism. Now, it is an active monastery with around 250 monks. It was once reputed for its excellence in meditation and during the 13 century even rivaled Sakya in its political influence.
The main assembly hall marks the most impressive part of the buildings. The central figure of the hall is Jigten Sumgon, who is the founder of the monastery. The statues of Guru Rinpoche and Sakyamuni are to the left. Go upstairs, on the 1st-floor of Serkhang, you can see statues of Jigten Sumgon and his two successors, all wearing red hats. At the foot of the statue, in a slab of rock, there is Jigten's footprint. From here, you can keep going upstairs to a balcony and a circuit of prayer wheels. There are steps leading to the chortens of two previous abbots.
The monastery kora heads up the hill to the main durtro. This is the holiest sky-burial site in the Lhasa region- people travel hundreds of kilometres to bring their deceased relatives here. Sometimes it's possible to observe a sky burial, but it is absolutely essential that you gain permission from both the family of the deceased and the senior lama who conducts the ceremony.
The kora along the ridge can lead you back down to the monastery. You can ask the monks for the path to the gongkhang. It is the protector chapel which is dedicated to Abchi, the protectress of Drigung. There is one of his statue to the left of the main statue of Jigten Sumgon. Another statue of Abchi riding a horse is to the right of the chapel. This one is next to Tseringma riding a snow lion. And Tseringma is the goddess of Mt Everest. on the left wall of the chapel there is also a pair of yak horns. It is said that Drigung is named after the horns. Another saying is that the name derives from the hillside, which resembles the shape of a yak.Not far away from the Drigung Til Monastery, there are a lot of temples of the Drigungpa one after another. It is said that there were over 30 such temples, but only several of them remain. Northwest of the Drigung Til and 13km up a side valley are the famous Tidrum Nunnery and Tidrum Hot Springs.