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Monasteries in Mount Kailash

Circling Lake Manasarovar

Map of Lake Manasarovar (click image for larger size map)

(click image for larger size map)

There are eight monasteries around Lake Manasarovar: Sewa Lung in the east; Nye-go in the southeast; Thrue-go in the south; Go-tsug in the southwest; Jiwu in the west; Ja-kyib in the northwest, Bon Ri in the northeast; and Lang-na in the north. Sewa Lung Gompa belongs to the Drikung lineage, Nye-go Gompa to the Sakya lineage, and Bon-Ri to the Gelugpa tradition, the remainder were established by the Drukpa Lineage.

Sewa Lung Gompa

Sera Lung Monastery is located to the east of Manosarovar Lake. It was built by Dordzin Konchok Gyudzin following the prophesy of Konchok Thinley Sangpo, the 2nd Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. It was destroyed during and Cultural Revolution and Hortoe Khenpo Konchok Chophel financed its reconstruction in 1984.

Nye-Go Gompa

To the south-east is Nye-go monastery belong to the Sakya tradition. Ngorchen Kunga Lhundup built the monastery at the site where he had a vision of Guru Padmasambhava.

Thrue-go Gompa

A Drukpa yogi called Gyiwa built Thrue-go Gompa. Initially it was a small temple that could house only a couple of people. Later, a descendant of Ra Lotsawa built a four-pillar guesthouse with shrines around. During the time of Kalsang Gyatso (the seventh Dalai Lama), the monastery was transferred to Shephel Ling and the ownership of Dzu-thrul Phug to the Drukpas.

Bon Ri Gompa

To the north-east is Bon Ri Monastery belongs to the Gelugpa tradion. It was founded by Gugewa Khedup Lobsang Norbu who came from Sera Thekchen Choling to meditate in Mount Kailash. It was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Today only ruins of the monastery remain.

Jiwu Gompa

Jiwu Gompa, also known as the western ablution gate, is located on a heart-shaped rock and has the structures resembling Sangdok Palri (Copper Colour Mountain). Guru Padmasambhava spent seven days at this cave on his way to subdue the demons in the south western region in 876 AD and left his footprint there. It was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and rebuilt in 1983. This monastery is managed by Dra Dingpo Che Dhondup Thongmon Gompa, a monastery of the Drukpa Lineage.

Go Tsug Gompa

Go-Tsug Gompa was the place where Atisha stayed for seven days when he visited the Lake. Later, when Gotsangpa came to open the route to Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar, he meditated for three months at the cave in the antechamber of the present monastery. Since the spread of the Drukpa Lineage in the Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar region started from here, it acquired the name Go-Tsug, meaning the "Starting Point". During the time of Tsulthrim Gyatso (the Tenth Dalai Lama), it was turned into a monastery of the Gelugpa School.

Jakyib Gompa

In the North-west is Jakyib monastery. Drikung Chennga Lingpa with a retinue of 500 meditators stayed here for many years and remained under the Drikung Lineage. When Tsangnyon Heruka, one of the mad yogi disciple of the 2nd Gyalwang Drukpa Je Kunga Paljor, came and set up retreat centre that flourished. Later during Hasak invasion all the caves fell into the lake and the retreat centre became defunct. At present there are 4 to 5 main caves. The temple built by Drukpa Lineage from Bhutan, who managed the monastery, was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. It has not been rebuilt.

Lang-na Gompa

Lang-na Gompa is located on a hillock resembling the trunk of an elephant. Hence it got the name Lang-na, meaning 'Elephant's trunk'. It was built by Nyemowa Samten Phuntsok, belonging to the Middle Drukpa lineage, after spending many years in retreat in Mount Kailash. Later his reincarnation Kunga Lodo Nyingpo built the monastery modelled on Drikung Yangri Gar Gompa. Lang-na Gompa was partially rebuilt in 1986, following its destruction during the Cultural Revolution.


Satellite map showing Tirthapuri Gompa as "Zhida Burisi", the transliteration of the monastery's Chinese name (click image for larger size map)

In the Mount Kailash region, 60km from Mount Kailash is the famous Tirthapuri (Prithapuri, known locally as "Tathapri Monastery"). Terthapuri is the Chakrasamvara Palace, equal to Mount Kailash in importance, and the main sacred place is the spring where the white droplet flows. On the top is the Guru Padmasambhava’s cave, in the middle is Gyalwa Gotshangpa’s cave and below is the Vajra Varahi Cave. The rocks surrounding the are self-arisen images. The monastery was originally founded by Dordrak Lama Chonyi Sangpo but he didn’t have any successor. The monastery was managed by Druk Sangak Choling monastery. Later it was offered to Taktsang Repa of Ladakh. Tetapuri monastery was destroyed and plundered by Hasak invaders in 1941 when it was being managed by Langna Tulku who was then looking after Korzok monastery of Ladakh, Terthapuri and Langna monasteries in Kailash. The monastery belongs to the Drukpa Lineage.

Tirthapuri (Prithapuri, known locally as "Tathapri Monastery"), in present state, forcibly converted to Karma Kagyu (photo taken in September 2014)

External of Tirthapuri (Tathapuri) decorated by the emblem designed by His Holiness Karmapa Ugyen Thinley Dorjee based on the Dream Flag drawn by His Holiness the late 16th Karmapa (photo taken in September 2014)