Tibet is a huge place to explore. All Tibet tours start from Lhasa city, but there are many places to explore outside the Lhasa city. Some of the oldest Buddhist sites are in Shigatse, Gyantse, and Tsedang, part of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Here are the top must-visit Buddhist sites outside Lhasa city.
Samye Monastery is the first monastery in Tibet history. It is located in Shannan county, which is five hours drive from Lhasa City. It has a three-story building with the mixed architectural design of Tibetan, Nepalis, and Chinese. The whole structure is designed in the form of a sacred mandala. It has a huge campus, and each corner of the campus has a stupa with various colors. It represents different purposes.
Sakya Monastery is located in the west of Shigatse, famous for its medieval Mongolian architecture and a large collection of Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, murals, and Thangkas. The ancient library is the main attraction place to visit. It has huge Tibetan Buddhist texts that are piled up on the wall of the monastery. It was built in 1073, and the design of the monastery is mainly a Mongolian structure.
Tashilhunpo Monastery is a renowned religious place, which is the seat of the Panchen Lama. It is located in Shigatse City. Tashilhunpo Monastery was considered the largest monastery in the Shigatse.
Its gorgeous buildings are covered with golden roofs. The walls of it are white, and you can also see the extraordinary Tangka wall, which shows the images of Buddha in history. The specific wall paintings of this monastery are quite precious and invaluable.
Rongbuk Monastery is on the north side of Mt. Everest, an ideal place to have a good view of Mt. Everest. The mountaineers also choose this location as their base camp. Local guides offer homage at the monastery before they begin their journey.
The views around it are dramatic and have attracted many tourists to come here to enjoy the peak panorama of several mountains. It has long been the location for special Buddhist pilgrimages, and its religious atmosphere is quite strong.
Pelkor Chode Monastery
Pelkor Chode Monastery is located at the foot of Dzong Hill of Gyantse county. It is considered the largest stupa in Tibet. The monastery has seven floors, and many cultural relics have been preserved well till now.
It keeps 1,049 sets of aged Tibetan sutra that are quite useful for learning the religion of Tibetan and the culture in Tibet. The Tibetan-Nepali style Kumbum stupa is the highlight of the tour. On the other side of the monastery, there is a fort, which was the seat of the Gyantse landlord’s fort.
Shalu Monastery is a small monastery, however, it is also famous for its scholarly studying and psychic training. The murals in this monastery are regarded as the oldest and the most authentic in Tibet. It was once a significant center for the tradition of Sakya. The landscape around the monastery is amazing. It’s also a great place for hiking and trekking.