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Tradruk Temple

* It is said to be the earliest imperial temple in Tibet.
History: Built from the 7th century
Distance from Lhasa: 180 km
Entrance fee: RMB 70 per person 
Open Hours: 9:00-16:00
* Address:  Tsedang, Shannan, Tibet
* Best visiting time: June to October

Trandruk Temple
Trandruk Temple
Trandruk Temple
Trandruk Temple
Trandruk Temple
Trandruk Temple
Trandruk Temple
Trandruk Temple
Trandruk Temple
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Trandruk Monastery lies on the southern side Mt. Gangpo Ri, on the east bank of the Yarlung River, about 2 kilometers south of Tradrug town. Tradruk Monastery is the earliest great geomantic temple in Tibetan history after the Jokhang and some sources say it is even pre-dates the Jokhang.

“Tran” means roc and “druk” means dragon in Tibetan. The monastery got is name from the legend that it could only be built after Songtsan Gampo had turned into a roc and conquered an evil dragon. It’s said that renowned figures in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, such as Padmasambhava and Milariba, had practised Buddhism nearby after it was built and the remaining relics are sacred land for the devotees.

Trandruk was built during the reign of Songtsan Gampo, and later extensionswere designed by Juequjian of it. It’s said Princess Wencheng stayed and practised Buddhism here at one time and left some relics. Trandruk later converted to Gelugpa and experienced large-scale reconstruction and later it belonged to Gelupa (one of the Sects of Tibetan Buddhism).

Tibetan legend tells how the site chosen for Trandruk was covered by a large lake containing a five-headed dragon. King Songtsen Gampo emerged from a period of meditation with such power that he was able to summon a supernatural falcon to defeat the dragon and drink the water of the lake, leaving the earth ready for Trandruk (meaning Falcon-Dragon).

The two masters first imitated the sound of the bird and lured the dragon out; then they imitated the sound of the dragon to lure the bird out. Next, the dragon and the bird began to fight. The bird at last chopped off two of the dragon's heads with its wings. Seven days later, the lake disappeared. That is how the monastery got its name.

Its main constructions include the Coqen Hall enshrining the statues of Songtsen Gampo, Sakyamuni, and Guanyin Bodhisattva, and a winding corridor with many scriptures carved on the wall. The hall on the second floor of the Coqen Hall enshrines the statue of Indian Master Padmasambhava.

The Coqen Hall still boasts a lot of statues andmural paintings in the hall. The most attractive is the Pearl-made Tangkha (a kind of embroidery), made of 29,026 pearls, 1 diamond, 1 ruby, 1 sapphire, and 15 grams of gold. It is a miracle to see it have passed down from generation to generation without being damaged or lost during political struggles and wars.

Its remaining glory is the Pearl Thangka, an image of King Songtsen Gampo's wife, Princess Wencheng, which 2 meters in length, 1.2 meters in breadth, is made of 29026 pears and different precious stone by Naidong during the reign of Pamodrupa Kingdom, , as the White Tara, created from thousands of tiny pearls meticulously sewn onto a pink background. This is in the central chapel upstairs, which also houses an original statue of Padmasambhava at the age of eight.

A pearl Thangka which is housed in one of the chapels representing Chenrezi (the Bodhisattva of Compassion) at rest is the monastery’s major treasure. It is 2 meters long, 1.2 meters wide and is made up of 29,026 pearls and a diamond, two rubies, a sapphires,185 turquoise, amber, 1997 corals and 15.5 grams of gold.

The Tradruk Monastery, which has experienced much damage, often fell into longtime disrepair during its existence. During the period of the 5th Dalai, the Tradruk Monastery was once repaired with the addition of a golden top for grandeur and respect to King Songtsen Gampo and Princess Wencheng. During the reign of the 13th Dalai Lama, it was repaired, enlarged, and renovated again.

Trandruk monastery is one of the earliest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet which attracts many pilgrims and visitors. It is included in the list of the state key historical sites that are given special protection.

Travel Tips:
  • Entrance Fee: RMB 40 (USD 6) per person
  • Opening Hours: 09:00 -- 16:00
  • Recommended Visiting Time: Two hours or so.

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