The red, fortress-like structure of Tsongkhapa’s mausoleum is probably the most impressive of the reconstructed buildings at Ganden. It’s above a prominent white chörten. Red Guards destroyed both the original tomb and the preserved body of Tsongkhapa inside it. The new silver-and-gold chörten was built to house salvaged fragments of Tsongkhapa’s skull.
The main entrance leads to a new prayer hall with an inner Sakyamuni chapel. The protector chapel to the right is the domain of the three main Gelugpa protectors: Chögyel (far right), Dorje Jigje (centre) and Gompo (left). Women are not allowed into this chapel.
Stairs lead to the upper floors and the holy Serdung chapel, which houses Tsongkhapa’s funeral chörten. The chapel is sometimes called the Yangpachen Khang, after the stone in the back left, covered in offerings of yak butter that is said to have flown from India. The images seated in front of the chörten are of Tsongkhapa flanked by his two principal disciples. On the wall is a photo of the Ganden Tripa who rebuilt the funeral chörten. Pilgrims line up to buy votive inscriptions written in gold ink by the monks and later recited during prayer dedications. Protective amulets and high-quality incense are sold outside the chapel.