Sera Monastery

Sera Monastery Travel Guide, Tibet



Located 4km north of Lhasa,Sera Monastery was founded in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It's one of the only 8 monasteries in Tibet(TTL 3000) to be spared the vicissitudes of the Cultural Revolution.

The monks' famous daily debates take place in Sera Monastery at around 3:00pm, which attracts many spectators. Photos are no problem, which is very rare in Tibet, so make the best of it. Sky burials are still occasionally practiced at Sera Monastery, although they are much less common than they used to be because of the unholy and unhealthy interest shown by tourists. It is considered the height of indecency to intrude upon a sky burial.

  • Debating of Buddhist Doctrines

    The Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Sect of Tibetan Buddhism studies Buddhist doctrines using a step-by-step process. As a part of their study, lamas must participate in debates to further their comprehension and proceed to more advanced levels of study. The debating traditions in the Sera Monastery are unique among the three famous monasteries in Lhasa. Debates are conducted by the lamas in the monastery every day. In a battle of words, they supplement their efforts by using a variety of gestures including clapping their hands, pushing their partners for an answer, or plucking their prayer beads to win the virtue of the Buddha. For a clear view of this unique event, an early arrival is recommended.

Getting there & away

Take minibuses from Lhasa or a taxi for around Y15.

Admission Fee:  Y55; Opening Hours:  09:00 to 16:00

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