Plan your Lhasa tour? For many first-time Lhasa visitors, Sera Monastery is one of the highlights in Lhasa. It is located 6km north of downtown Lhasa.
Brief History of Sera Monastery
Sera Monastery is known as one of the three major monasteries in Lhasa. The other two are Ganden Monastery and Drepung Monastery. Sera Monastery is the last one of the three major monasteries.
The Sera Monastery is mainly composed of the Great Assembly Hall and three colleges (Tratsang). Its construction started in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey of Sakya Yeshe of Zel Gungtang (1355–1435) and completed 1434.
The Great Assembly Hall
There are some precious olde murals in the main hall and the buildings around it in Sera Temple. It is best to bring a flashlight or headlamp for easy appreciation.
There are also tens of thousands of Vajra Buddha statues preserved in the temple, some locally made and a few brought from the mainland or India.
Sera Je College
Sera Monastery has three colleges (Tratsang), including Sera Me College (Tratsang), Sera Je College and Ngkapa Tratsang.
The Sera Je College is the largest among three. The Sera Je College (Tratsang) takes an area of over 17,000 square metres. It was originally a three-storey building; a fourth floor was put in the 18th century by protecting the building with a total of 100 columns.
Luckily I was allowed to take photos inside the hall of Je College (Tratsangthe) temple after paying CNY25. To our delight, our visit coordinated with a large gathering of monks.
Theoretically speaking, I could take as many photos as I can. But being afraid of disturbing the statues of the Hayagriva, Chenresig or Avalokiteshwara and more deities, I only took just a few pictures.
Sera Monastery Monk Debate
Sera’s debate has been known in Tibetan areas and the debate itself is a big draw for visitors to come to visit Sera Temple. The ceremony of Sera’s debate is held in the north debate field of the temple.
Basically there will be so many people watching the debate that you need to get there a bit earlier to have a good seat or space to watch them.
The debate usually starts at three p.m. and ends at five p.m. However, on Sundays and special occasions, there is no debate. The monks tend to sit on the floor and another one is stand on the opposite with exaggerated debate scripture action which looks very interesting.
The Panoramic View of Lhasa
The back of Sera Mountain has a high altitude where you can watch the panoramic of Lhasa on the top of the mountain. It is really a resort for mountain-lovers. Every year at Shoton Festival, the Sunbathing Buddha Festival will be held here
The relative height of the mountain is about 500 meters, climbing it will take about four hours, requires a certain physical strength. Visitors who are in poor physical strength or easy to get altitude stress are not recommend to climb to the summit.
The entire circumference of Sera Temple
The entire circumference of Sera Temple is about 1.5 km. The layout of Sera Temple is that the Cuoqin hall is in the center and numerous buildings are scattered around the major hall.
Different from mainland Chinese Buddhist architecture, Sera is not axial symmetrical layout, but scattered in the mountains.
How to get there & Entrance Fees
Enquiry Phone Number: 0891-6383639
Suggested visiting time: 1-3 hours
Public buese: Take bus no. 6, 16, 24 and get off at Sera Temple Station
Entrance fee: 50 yuan
Opening Hours: 8:30-17:00 (January 1 – December 31, Monday – Sunday)
Address: 1 Salad Road, Chengguan District, Lhasa
Hassle-free Lhasa Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for guided tours to Lhasa:
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Lhasa Railway Station Transportation, Taxi, Public Bus
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4-Wheel Drive Trip from Lhasa to Ranwu
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The Pilgrim Kora in Lhasa, Lhasa Pilgrim circuits
How to Visit Sera Monastery in Lhasa
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Lhasa Great Mosque, the Mosques in Lhasa
Qushui Bridge in Qushui County, Tibet (Tips, Photos & Map)
Nagarzê County and Scenic Road Trip to Gyantse
Gyantse County and Road Trip to Shigatse
Shigatse Trip (Tips, Photos & Map)
Shigatse Lhatse Tingri Road Trip
Drive from Tingri to Mt.Everest Base Camp
Gangkar Town ( Gangga Town ), Tingri County
Tingri County （Tips, Photos & Maps）
Nyalam Town & Nyalam County (Tips, Photos & Maps)
Zhangmu Port & Zhangmu Town (Tips, Photos & Maps)
Any questions, just drop a line.