Ganden monastery


Ganden is named after the Tushita heaven where the future Buddha Maitreya, presently a bodhisattva is residing. Ganden monastery is one of the three largest Gelugpa school monasteries near Lhasa. The two others are the Sera Monastery and the Drepung Monastery.

History of Ganden Monastery 

Ga means Joy and Den means to Remain, it's a joyful remain retreat area. Je Tsongkhapa is the founder of the Gelugpa school in Buddhism in Tibet. ( 1357 - 1419 ) 

When Je Tsongkhapa was staying at the retreat area in the Woka Choelong. Once when he was resting on the stone and facing towards the direction of the southwest, where he achieved the prophecy of establishing the Ganden monastery in that direction.  Later in the year 1409, Je Tsongkhapa Lobsang Drakpa founded the Ganden monastery and the retreat area.

Je Tsongkhapa stayed at Ganden for many years teaching Dharma and solitude retreat. Je Tsongkhapa passed away at Ganden Monastery. The gold and silver tomb of Je Tsongkhapa is well preserved at the Ganden monastery. 

The name Gelug means positive karmic path. It was actually Ganden lug or Ganden way or path or tradition. 

Photo: Ganden monastery

Ganden Tripa Golden Throne Holder

The Ganden monastery is famous for the golden throne holder of Ganden. The first Ganden Tripa was Je Tsongkhapa. The second Ganden Tripa holder was Gyaltsab Je, and the third Ganden Tripa holder was Kedrup Je. Gyaltsab Je and Kedrup Je are the two main disciples of Je Tsongkhapa. 

The beauty of Ganden Tripa is anyone can be a Ganden Tripa if that person has great wisdom. It will take more than forty years of diligent learning, and practicing Mahayana Buddhism to become the great Ganden Tripa.

Most of the Ganden Tripa was around fifty-sixty years old when they became the Ganden Tripa golden throne holder. They were also some wise Ganden Tripa who became Ganden Tripa after having diligent learning and practicing Mahayana Buddhism for around twenty years. 

There is an old Tibetan saying; If a mother's son has wisdom, the golden Ganden Tripa seat is ownerless. Travelers can witness the beauties of the Golden Ganden Tripa throne when visiting the main assembly hall. 

Two of the main relics of the monastery are the tomb of Je Tsongkhapa and the golden throne of Ganden Tripa. The monastery has a Jamkhang (chapel of Maitreya Buddha).



Location of the Ganden monastery

The location of Ganden monastery is at Takze county, around 60km from Lhasa towards the east at an altitude of 4300 meters. 

Ganden Karo Lingkor Hike Route 

Ganden monastery is situated on the mountain namely Wangbori. The hike allows Travelers to see the beauties of the whole Valley and the mountains with the view of far villages passing by the river. 

I still remember the days when I took two Singapore Travelers on the hike at Ganden Monastery Kora Lingkor route. After every few steps, they keep saying wow wow so that gave me the energy to share this beautiful hike with Travelers.

Travelers with children are bored with so many monasteries so I have recommended the Ganden Kora hike to them and they also love it a lot. The kora hike is around 5-6km with a hiking duration of around 1-2 hours at an altitude of around 4500 meters. 

Most of the tours in Tibet are focused on overland tours spending many hours in the vehicle so hiking at Ganden monastery is a great option for Travelers. 


Ganden monastery is one of the genuine monasteries in Tibet. The monastery is full of blessings from the great Tibetan masters from the Gelug school.

The Kora Lingkor route was once the retreat area of the masters. It is said that they used to meditate there even at night during the rainy or snowy season. The diligence of these great masters has left lots of blessings for Travelers. 

The Kora Lingkor hike route at nearly the summit of the Wangbori mountain allows Travelers to enjoy the stunning beauties of the whole valley like a view from the bird's eye.

For traveling information to Ganden, Email Tibet Travelers at 

Written By :Tenzin

Apr 03, 2023


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