Founded in 1056, Reting Monastery was completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Once the seat of the Reting Rinpoche, several of whom served as regents during the minority of underage Dalai Lamas, the temple retains little of its former political influence but is still an important spiritual centre of the Gelugpa school and is home to 160 monks.
The current main assembly hall (Tsogchen) had been completely gutted at the time of research as part of a huge renovation project. It is due to return to normal from 2020.
The main inner shrine, the Ütse, has a small central statue of Jampai Dorje, an unusual amalgam of the gods Jampelyang (Manjushri), Chana Dorje (Vajrapani) and Chenresig (Avalokiteshvara). To the left is an ancient thangka of Drölma that, according to the resident monks, was brought here by Atisha himself. A wooden box beside the altar holds the giant molar of Sangye Wösong, the buddha before Sakyamuni.
To the left of the Ütse entrance are some interesting photos of the monastery that date to 1948. To the right of the entrance is a photo of the current Reting Rinpoche and a footprint and photo of the fifth Reting Rinpoche. In front of the entrance is a platform used for creating sand mandalas. Behind the Ütse is a storeroom stuffed with Tantric drums and buddha statues. Newish thangka paintings line the right-hand wall.
As you leave the chapel look for a second hall to your right. The hall contains an ornate central gold chörten with the remains of the sixth Reting Rinpoche, and the walls of the hall are painted with stories of the life of the Reting Rinpoches. Lining the back wall are statues of all of the other previous Reting Rinpoches. The metal box in the right corner holds a giant thangka (known as a thongdrol), unveiled once a year.