Sakya Monastery

Sakya Monastery Travel Guide, Tibet



Sakya Lies in Sakya County, 130km southwest of Shigatse, the monastery is set in Sakya Basin between Gangtis Mountains and Himalayas.

Reputed as as the "Second Dunhuang", it is the first Sakyapa  monastery of Tibetan Buddhism founded by its initiator Khon Konchog Gyalpo in 1073, from where Sakyapa rose and once ruled Tibet. Standing there now is the old Southern Monastery, an imposing Mongol-style structure. The Northern Monastery was completely destroyed during the cultural revolution.

Sakya Monastery not only records the history of the combination of religion and politics in Tibet, but also deemed as the sign that Tibet was brought into Chinese domain officially. The Monastery has 900 years' history and the Sakya Sect ruled Tibet for more than 70 years.

The monastery has a colossal collection of highly valuable art pieces, including abundance handwriting sutra copied by all the Tibetan calligraphists organized by Basiba. Sakya's collection of treasures also contains 3,000 pieces of sutras that have thousands of years history. The mural in Sakya Monastery is quite different from Dunhuang that has already become relic. 


It can be reached by taking the bus at the Shigatse Bus Station to Sakya. The bus leaves at 7:00-8:00 and takes 5~6hrs for Y55.

There is a checkpoint before entering Sakya. Then walk along the road, you will see some white buildings on the left. After about 5 minutes you’ll arrive at Sakya Monastery. 

Admission Fee: Y45


Sakya Town Rest House - Y15/bed. usually out of water and electricity. Basic food is offered in a few restaurants.

  • Lakhang Chenmo Hall - the Main Chanting Hall, the central structure of Sakya's inner courtyard.Murals in the hall depict the stories about the pillars.

    Besides statues of Buddhas, the hall houses the greatest religious library in Tibet, containing tens of thousands of sutras written in Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian, and Sanskrit. Among them two sutras named Kanjur and Tanjur were writtben in ink produced from ground gold powder.

    In the chapel west of the hall mandala-making techniques are taught. Ngudung Lakhang, or the North Chapel, houses 11 silver-wrapped stupas of former Sakyapa Throne Holders. Pukang, the Manjushri Chapel, contains a Jowo Sakyamuni, a Manjushri and other statues.
  • Collection of Books - 3,000 pieces of sutras written in Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian and Sanskrit which cover a wide range of knowledge; other artifacts such as seals, crowns, robes, Buddhist vessels and statues bestowed by emperors of the Yuan Dynasty are also on display there. There are more than 40,000 books in the monastery. 464 book storehouses with millions of sutra, among which over 2,800 are hand copy in Yuan and Ming Dynasty, originating from old India with thousands years history. These Beiye Sutra is rare in the world.
  • Pudejiamalong Sutra - the most valuable Tibetan Sutra, written in gold powder,claims to be the largest sutra book in the world, with detail description of Tibetan religions, history, philosophy, literature and agriculture.Sakya Monastery
  • Big Chanting Sutra Hall - the Hall of 5,700sqkm is held by 40 red lacquers painted huge poles. The four cypress poles with 1.2 diameters in the middle are very special. It is said the Yuan Dynasty obliged them. Tibet is very far from the Yuan capital and also hard for people to deliver them. Basipa felt very disappointed, but at this time he found the poles appearing suddenly in a river. So these four poles all got their names, which has detailed record on the mural in the main hall.
  • Murals-Sakya has countless murals, mostly of the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). Among them, murals of mandalas and former Sakya Throne Holders are the most outstanding, among which the meeting of the former Sakya throne Holders and Kublai khan, the Sakya Monastery building scene are two most valuable murals.
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