Tsurphu monastery Religious festival

The great Karma Kagyu’s Cham dance is one of the most popular festivals in and around Lhasa. This Kyagupa monastery is called Tsurphu, located 65km west of Lhasa and it is the main seat of all reigns of Karmapa, and the present Karmapa is the 17th. In Tibetan Buddhism, it is also known as Black Hats, because the hats of supreme lama in Kagyupa are black. The history of Kyagu monastery can be dated back to 1187 when the first Kyagu monastery was established by Dusum Khyenpa in Kham area (his birthplace). Somehow, after 1st Karmapa passed away the current Tsurphu monastery became the main seat of all Karmapas.


The monastery has a very popular religious festival once in every year and that is always held around Saka Dawa (birthday of Lord Buddha) which falls in the fourth lunar month. This religious festival usually lasts for four days. The first day is to tie and erect the popular prayer flags, and the second and third day are to Cham dance. Last is to do the most sacred unfurling or unfolding of great Thangka from the hill opposite to monastery’s main assembly hall.

Cham (religious dance) was performed by local monks in the monastery by wearing a variety of protector and deities’ masks with customs. The Tibetans from all corner of Tibet try to attend the ceremony every year and every time the road to Tsurphu monastery will be always busy and crowded. The Cham dance always occurs in front of the main assembly hall of the monastery, where every Tibetans and traveler from all over the world will eat only vegetables but no meats for the day. The festival at Tsurphu was celebrated from 6th June (Friday) to 9th June (Monday), 2014.

Sometimes, the environment at Tsurphu monastery seems like a great vegetable picnic with religious dance show from the monastery. In fact, religious dance is to let everyone make familiar with all the masks worn by monks during the dance. As every Buddhist followers knew that their spirit after death has to go through hell under the guidance of protectors so that each spirit can regain a faster human life.

Here is the Tibet travel advice before you travel to Tibet.