How to Visit Sera Monastery in Lhasa (Tips, Photos & Map)

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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.

Sera Monastery is located about 6km north of Potala Palace (Google Map)

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 Entrance to Sera Monastery

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.

The Great Assembly Hall

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.

Monks ready to eat inside the hall at Sera Je College

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.

Eating barley porridge

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. 

Monks learning at Sera Je College

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.

Sera Monastery Monk Debate

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.

Sera Monastery Monk Debate

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 back of Sera Mountain has a high altitude

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.

Tibetans in the temple

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:

Lhasa Tour
Lhasa Tibet Group Tour
Lhasa Tibet Private Tour
Beijing Lhasa Tour
Lhasa China Tour

Further Readings

Best Time to Visit Lhasa
Top 10 Attractions in Lhasa
Lhasa Tourist Traps, Tourist Scams Lhasa
Where to stay in Lhasa
Makye Ame Lhasa Restaurant – Your Kitchen in Lhasa
Lhasa Airport, Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Xian Lhasa Flight Experience, Xian Lhasa Flight
Lhasa Railway Station Transportation, Taxi, Public Bus
Get around in Lhasa with Pedicab or Trishaw
lhasa Taxi
Best Places to Take Picture of Potala Palace Lhasa

4-Wheel Drive Trip from Lhasa to Ranwu
Tips for Visiting Drak Yerpa (Tips, Photos & Map)
The Pilgrim Kora in Lhasa, Lhasa Pilgrim circuits
How to Visit Sera Monastery in Lhasa
Beijing Road in Lhasa
A Fun to Walk along Lhasa River in the City of Lhasa
Lhasa Great Mosque, the Mosques in Lhasa
Lhasa Yamdrok-Tso Lake Road Trip

Any questions, just drop a line.

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