Another of the Great Three Gelug Monasteries, Drepung Monastery is another iconic center of learning. Arguably the most important of all three, Drepung is famous for its size (it’s the largest monastery) and for having once been the home of the Dalai Lama before the Potala Palace took preeminence. The monastery consists of large and small halls – the Tsokchen Lhakhang is the most significant of these – as well as four colleges, the largest of which is Loseling Dratsang, which includes a remarkable scripture hall lined with traditional and contemporary versions of the sutras. Depending on the timing of your visit, you may be able to attend the Shoton Festival, considered a Lhasa summer highlight. Based around the monastic tradition of meditation and fasting for 100 days followed by the gifting of yogurt by locals, the Shoton festival is now also synonymous with the tradition of the unfurling of a large thangka. Tibetan monks debate here too, so if you miss out at Sera Monastery, be sure to catch the spectacle here.
Update: May 11, 2023