Ganden Monastery

Buddhist Monastery in Lhasa

Image by Krzysztof Dydynski Getty Images

About 50km east of Lhasa, this monastery, founded in 1417 by Tsongkhapa, was the first Gelugpa monastery. Still the order's heart and soul, it's the one out-of-Lhasa sight to choose if your time is limited. Two koras (pilgrim circuits) offer astounding views over the braided Kyi-chu Valley and you'll probably meet more pilgrims here than anywhere else. Some 400 monks now study in Ganden, and extensive reconstruction has been under way for some time now, alongside a strong police presence.