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Lhasa - Sera Monastery

Tibet - Lhasa - Shigatse

Sera, one of the 3 largest monasteries of Gelugpa sits at the foothills of Tatipu. It is as prestigious as Drepung and Ganden, which both have longer histories. Sera, in Tibetan, means "Wild Rose Garden" since opulent wild rose woods once grew around it.

Sera MonasteryA legend says that Tsong Khapa and his 2 disciples traveled in the area, spreading their religion. One day, they heard a horse whinnying underground when they were taking a walk in the rose woods.

They dug up a statue of Hynagriva (a horse-headed demon-god) and Tsong Khapa began construction of a monastery to enshrine Hynagriva.

However, the truth is that in 1414, Jamchen Chojey (or Sakya Yeshe), one of Tsong Khapa's disciples, visited Emperor Chengzu as Tsong Khapa's emissary. The Emperor Chengzu granted him a title of Dharma King of Great Mercy, sutras, and a set of sandalwood Arhats. In order to preserve them, Tsong Khapa instructed Jamchen Chojey to build a monastery to house the treasures. The Sera monastery was completed in 1419.

Sera's collection of murals is maintained in perfect, original condition. Its statues of Maitreya, Bodhisattvas, and Arhats are very noteworthy. Scriptures written in gold powder, scroll paintings, a tapestry portrait of Jamchen Chojey, and thangkas can be seen throughout Sera.