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Sakye Monastery

Located in Sakya County southwest of Shigatse, the Sakya Monastery is the principal monastery of the Sakyapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It 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 (three 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 (six feet) long, 1.3 meters (four feet) wide and 0.67 meter (two 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.

Sakye Monastery Sakye Monastery
Overview of Sakye Monastery Ritual ceremony at the Sakye Monastery

The park was built by the Seventh Dalai Lama in 1755, and became the summer residence of the Eighth Dalai Lama. The earliest building is Gesang Pozhang Palace built by Kelzang Gyatso. The 'New Palace' was begun in 1954 by the present Dalai Lama and completed in 1956. In addition to these two buildings, the garden contains an abundance of chapels, gardens, fountains, and pools as well as a variety of beautiful flowers and trees. To the west the Kalsang Potang built by Seventh Dalai Lama is a beautiful example of Yellow Hat architecture. Its fully restored throne room is also of interest.

The Treasure Park both reflects the ethnic and religious traits of the Tibetan people and embodies the architecture style of inland China. It is of great cultural value and was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2001 as an extension of Potala Palace.

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