Tsechen Monastery

Buddhist Monastery in Gyantse

The traditional village of Tsechen is located about 5km northwest of Gyantse en route to Shigatse. The small Sakyapa-school Tsechen Ge Tubden Rabgye Ling Monastery – home to 26 monks – sits just above the village. In good weather, you might also be able to climb up to the ruined fortress and wander along its defensive walls, where there are great views of the river valley below.

The fortress is believed to have been built as early as the 14th century and the early kings of Gyantse lived here until the 18th century. The British used the site during their 1904 invasion, although it was already partly ruined by then. The current monastery was rebuilt in 1987.

At the time of writing, a new assembly hall was being completed, due to open in 2018. Look for the central statue of Jowo Sakyamuni (only the lower section from the waist down is original) and also the two 1300-year-old stone carvings of Guru Rinpoche and Chenresig. A displayed black-and-white photo of the site from 1927 shows the extents of the original monastery, when it housed 850 monks.