Drepung Monastery

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Drepung Monastery (Tib. འབྲས་སྤུངས་དགོན་པ་, Wyl. ‘bras spungs dgon pa) — one of the three great Gelugpa seats and the largest monastery in the history of Tibet. Before the Chinese invasion, there were over 7,000 monks but the monastery is said to have counted as many as thirteen-thousand monks, at its peak. Founded in 1416 by Jamyang Chöjé Tashi Palden (1379-1449)—a direct disciple of Jé Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug tradition—the monastery was later sub-divided into seven great colleges:

  1. Gomang,
  2. Loselling,
  3. Deyang,
  4. Ngagpa,
  5. Shagkor,
  6. Gyelwa or Tosamling, and
  7. Dulwa.

After a while the latter three colleges (Dulwa, Shagkor and Gyelwa) amalgamated into the others.

Drepung Monastery also contains the Ganden Podrang residence which served as the seat of the Dalai Lamas until the seventeenth century.

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