The Drak Yerpa heritage is located about 30km (or 40 min of driving) To the North-East of Lhasa. It is a large complex of temples, monasteries and meditation caves nested on the mountain. The elevation here is slightly higher than in Lhasa (a little over 4,400 meters at the bottom and 4, 880 meters/ 16.000 ft at the top).
Visiting Drak Yerpa makes a great day trip outside of Lhasa. You can also combine it with a visit to Ganden monastery in the afternoon.
The monastery will be of particular interest to those who is interested in meditation, as there are many meditation caves, and to visitors who are preparing for a trek in Tibet. The elevation here is a slightly higher than in Lhasa making it easier to acclimatize to the Lhasa altitude after going up to Drak Yerpa.
King Songtsen Gampo and his two foreign queens are said to have meditated here in the Peu Marsergyi Lhakhang, where they discovered self-arising’ symbols of buddha-body, speech and mind, and in the Chogyel Puk. Later, Padmasambhava concealed many terma objects around Yerpa, including the celebrated ritual dagger of Sera (Sera Phurzhal), which was eventually rediscovered by the treasure-finder Darcharuba at Sewalung. Padmasambhava also passed some seven months in retreat in the Dawa Puk, which is regarded as one of his three foremost places of spiritual attainment (drub-ne). In the ninth century Lhalung Pelgyi Dorje stayed at Yerpa in solitary meditation, both prior to and after his assassination of the apostate king Langdarma.
Then, following the later phase of Buddhist propagation in Tibet, Yerpa came to greater prominence under Kadampa influence: Lu-me founded 108 temples on the hillside, including a Vairocana Lhakhang. Marton Chokyi Jungne founded the Jampa Lhakhang, and Atisha passed three years here, constructing with the aid of his foremost disciples, the Kyormo Lhakhang and the Chokhang.
Visiting the Complex
We start at the bottom of the complex, where you will see wonderful white stupas and a local restaurant. We will be climbing up the mountain to visit the monastries and meditation caves.