* The ancestral monastery of the Syaka sect of Tibet Buddhism.
Located at the foot of Benbo Mountain in Sakya County southwest of Shigatse Prefecture, the Sakya Monastery is the principal monastery of the Sakyapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
It was built in the 6th year (1073) of the Xining reign of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) by Khon Konchog Gyalpo, the founder of Sakyapa sect of Lamaism. Sakya, meaning “Grey Soil” in Tibetan since the soil surrounding it is gray. It is the central monastery of Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
Originally, the Sakya Kloster comprised both the Northern and Southern Monasteries. The Chun Qu River runs through the temple and divides it into the southern temple and the northern temple. The northern temple has been mostly deserted and the southern temple still remains, built like a fortress and was surrounded by a moat. Its walls were painted in red, white and grey strips, which indicate Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani respectively. Therefore, the Sakya Monastery is also called Colored Temple and Sakyapa sect is also called Colored School. The Main Chanting Hall, also called Lakhang Chenmo in Tibetan, is a must-see for all visitors. Covering an area of about 5,800 square meters (1.4 acres), Lakhang Chenmo can hold about ten thousand monks chanting sutras together. In the hall are enshrined three Buddhas - Dipamkarara, Sakyamuni and Maitreya, and five Sakyapa ancestors. There are forty huge vermilion pillars supporting the ceiling, four of which are about one meter (three feet) in diameter. Each of the four pillars has its own story. Gyina Seqen Garna was bestowed by Kublai Khan. Chongbo Garwa, Dabo Garwa and Nabo Chaza Garwa were carried to the monastery by a wild yak, a tiger and the God of the Sea. In addition, on the second floor of the hall are 63 murals of mandalas, the best preserved in the monastery.
Sakya Kloster is famed as the 'Second Dunhuang' due to its colossal collection of numerous Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, murals and Thangkas. According to statistics, about 40,000 volumes of scriptures are housed there. A wooden bookshelf which is about 57 meters (187 feet) long, 11 meters high (36 feet) and one meter wide (3 feet) has 464 grids. More than ten thousand scriptures are housed on the shelf. Among them, the most precious is Burde Gyaimalung, which records Tibetan religion, history, philosophy, literature, agriculture and animal husbandry. It is 1.8 meters (6 feet) long, 1.3 meters (4 feet) wide and 0.67 meter (2 feet) thick and boasts the biggest scriptures in the world. Additionally, it also houses 21 volumes of Buddhist scriptures written on Pattra leaves in Sanskrit. Each consists of one hundred to two hundred pages and four-color illustrations. They are the most precious sutras in the world.