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Samye Monastery

Lhokha Travel Guide

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The construction of Samye Monastery began in 762 AD and was completed in 779 AD. It is the first monastery in Tibet featuring Buddhist, laws and monks, where the famous debate of the doctrines between ancient Indian Buddhism and inland Buddhism happened. The monastery is modeled on the Odantapuri Temple in Bihar, India. After several dynasties’ extension, it now covers a large scale of more than 4,900 square meters.

Before “Utse” the Great Hall which combines Chinese, Tibetan and Indian architectural styles, there is a stone “stele”, which was erected to honor Trisong Detsen’s vow of his piety to Buddhism. In the monastery there is a pair of white marble statues, their shapes are simple and with a carving style of Tang Dynasty. They are the most precious remaining stone sculptures in the monastery. Besides, there is a rare bronze bell with ancient Tibetan script on it. According to the record, this is the first bell cast in Tibet.

Location:

Located at the foot of Mt. Hepo Ri, on the north bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo River of Zharang County, Samye Monastery is about 38 kilometers from Tsedang. It’s one of the main scenic spots of the state-level scenic area - the Yarlung River Scenic Area.

Transportation:

Taking a Lhasa-Tsedang bus in Lhasa, it’ll take you 3 hours to get to Samye ferry crossing. Or you may take a bus from Tsedang to Samye ferry crossing, about 30 kilometers long. Either route will charge you 27 Yuan per person. Then you can spend 360 Yuan to rent a ferry to cross the Yarlung Tasangpo river. You may also enjoy the fun by taking a sheepskin raft. After going ashore, you’ll spend 3 Yuan to Samye Monastery by truck.

Opening Time:

9:00 a.m. to 16:00 p.m. Recommended visiting time:2-3 hours

Admission Fee:

Locals free of charge; 30 Yuan for visitors. It’ll cost you much less if you have a student’s identity card.

Evaluation:

Samye Monastery is one of the oldest Tibetan Monasteries. It was built a little later than Jokhang and the main monastery built during the first flourishing period of Tibetan Buddhism which is of great significance in the development of Tibetan culture. The monastery was once ruined by Lang Darma (Lang Darma was an ancient Tibetan King who banned Buddhism and destroyed Buddhist temples). It has been damaged throughout repeated wars and remains the present scope, which should be well cherished.


 

Tips:

1.Bargaining with the ferry owners and drivers to make an agreed price in advance to prevent them charging more later. You can follow the same route to Samye Ferry crossing and take the Lhasa-Tsedang bus back. Or you may spend 5 Yuan to Yumbulagang by tractor. But the most convenient choice is to spend 40 Yuan to rent a motor tricycle to make a round trip. On the way back you may stop at Trandruk Monastery and then lodge in Tsedang. But you should set the price with the driver beforehand or he may asks for more later.

2. As it is a long way to go to Samye Monastery, you can consider lodging in there. There is a small hostel in the Monastery, it costs individual tourists 15 to 40 Yuan per person. There are rooms with four beds on the first floor, 30 Yuan or 40 Yuan a bed with the difference as whether there is a TV set or not. It’s unnecessary to have a TV set because you can only receive programs of one channel-Tibet-1. The rooms are very clean. There is public washroom on the first floor without running water. And the food there is not very good.


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