It is one of the most ancient Buddhist sites in Tibet.
Pabonka Hermitage is an anceint retreat founded by Songtsän Gampo in the 7th century. Part of Sera Monastery, it is about 8 kilometres from Lhasa in the Nyang bran Valley on the side of Mount Parasol. Pabonka Hermitage is the starting point for the “Sixth-Month Fourth-Day” (Drug pa tshe bzhi) of the Sera Mountain Circumambulation Circuit (Se ra’i ri ’khor) pilgrimage.
Pobanka means "on the top of a giant rock" in Tibetan language. It got its name due to its construction on a giant rock. It is said that it was built even earlier than the Potala Palace and Jokhang Monastery. Several of famous Tibetan kings and monks used to meditate there in different times, and Pabonka is said to be the place where Tibetan Alphabets were created. Over the many years of history, Pobanka undergone many times of destroy and repair. Nowadays the former glory of the high-rise palace has gone, and Pabonka has turned into a medium temple with occasional visits. There only remain a three-story rock building standing on the rock and a few others around the rock.
Pobanka Hermitage also serves as a base for further travel for some adventurers. It is about one and a half hours hike from Pobanka Hermitage to Sera Monastery. This is a nice stretch of hiking, and is quoted to be "a sun-filled, energizing hike is only the prelude to lively monk debates outside of the city". Nearby places you can hike to are Tashi Choling Hermitage (about 30 minutes) and Chupsang Nunnery (about one hour).