Note Updated: Mount Everest (Tibet side) is reopened from July 1, 2015!
Tashilhunpo Monastery is located on the southern slope of the Nyima Mountain to the west of the Shigatse city. It represents the Tibetan super architecture art in the Last Tibetan spirit. The monastery attracts thousands of Buddhists and tourists from domestic and abroad to travel and worship every year.Driving on the road far away from Shigatse, from the west city you can see the gold roof of Tashilhunpo Monastery shinning under the sunshine. Experiencing five centuries, it still maintains the magnificent vigor. Tashilhunpo Monastery (meaning auspicious) is one of the Six Big Monasteries of Gelugpa (or Yellow Hat Sect) in China and the biggest Tibetan Gelugpa Buddhism monastery in back Tibet area.
Tashilhunpo Monastery was founded in 1447, and its name means “heap of glory” or “all fortune and happiness gathered here” in Tibetan language. Ever since its foundation, Tashilhunpo has been the traditional sear of successive Panchen Lamas, who are the second highest ranking Tulku lineage in the Gelugpa tradition. All the Panchen Lamas have managed to expand the monastery gradually over the centuries. Tashilhunpo houses plenty of treasured sutra and cultural relics.
Jamba Chyenmu was erected in 1914, and is the tallest building of Tashilhunpo. The ninth Panchen Lama erected this to house a giant statue of maitreya Buddha, which is the largest of its kind in China. The statue is 26 meters (85 ft) tall, and contains 279 kilograms (615 lb) of gold and 150,000 kilograms (330693 lb) of brass and copper. More than 100 goldsmiths, coppersmiths, painters and sculptors from Tibet and Nepal joined together in the producing process of this gigantic statue.
The Sunning of the Buddha Festival at Tashilhumpo Monastery is a grand and important festival in Tibet. It happens every year from 14th to 16th of the fifth month of the Tibetan Calendar (around July and August on the Gregorian calendar). During the festival, three Buddhas are displayed respectively each day. Here, Buddhas are actually giant pieces of Thangkas. The first day displays the Buddha representing the past, the second day the present, and the third day the future. Tens of thousands of people congregate around the giant Buddha. The display platform for sunning the Buddha at Tashilhunpo is very unique. It was completely built with rocks in 1468. Standing tall and magnificent on the mountain slope, the giant platform can be seen dozens of kilometers away. During the festival, people from all around Tibet and many other places gather there to worship the Buddha.