Sera Ütse


From Sera the steep, relentless climb to the yellow-walled Sera Ütse retreat takes at least an hour (look up and see it high on the cliff above Sera; if that doesn’t put you off, you’ll be fine!). At 4140m, Sera Ütse was a retreat used by Tsongkhapa – his drub-puk (meditation cave) can be visited – and is currently home to two monks.

Take the path towards the Chöding hermitage and branch off to the left before you get there, climbing the ridge via a switchback path until you reach the yellow building perched high above the valley. You can also reach the retreat directly from Pabonka’s Tashi Chöling hermitage, which makes for a stunning day-long hike. From Sera Ütse you can continue along a new road to the Dode Valley.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lhasa attractions

1. Upper Viewpoint

0.33 MILES

A 10-minute walk from Sera Ütse is this superb viewpoint, probably Lhasa’s most scenic picnic spot. From here a new road continues east down into the Dode…

2. Keutsang Ritrö

0.65 MILES

This retreat complex high in the hills above Lhasa is home to 23 monks. The original hermitage lies in ruins in an incredible location on the side of the…

3. Rakadrak Hermitage

0.66 MILES

This hermitage high above Lhasa has three simple caves associated with Gelugpa founder Tsongkhapa. It's best visited on a hike from Sera Monastery to the…

4. Hardong Kangtsang

0.86 MILES

Hardong served as a residence for monks studying at Sera Je College. In the first inner chapel, look for a photo of Ekai Kawaguchi, the Japanese monk who…

5. Debating Courtyard

0.91 MILES

There is usually monk debating here on weekday afternoons from around 3pm to 5pm, which provides a welcome relief from peering at Buddhist iconography…

6. Sera Je College

0.93 MILES

This is the largest of Sera’s colleges, generally accessed from a western side entrance. It has a breathtaking main hall, hung with thangkas and lit by…

7. Chöding Hermitage

0.93 MILES

A path branches off the kora (pilgrim circuit) up side steps beside the thangka wall to the Chöding hermitage. The hermitage was a retreat of Tsongkhapa's…

8. Sera Ngagpa College

0.94 MILES

A Tantric college, Ngagpa is also the oldest structure at Sera. The main hall is dominated by a statue of Sakya Yeshe (wearing a black hat), behind the…