- Trandruk Monastery
- Samye Monastery
- Hepo Ri
- Chimpu Nunnery and caves
- Yemalung Valley Nunnery
Around 7km south of Tsedang, this is one of the earliest Buddhist monastery in Tibet, having been founded at the same time as the Jokhang and Ramoche in Lhasa. Dating back to the 7th-century reign of king Songtsen Gampo, it is also one of the Tibet’s demoness-subduing temples. In order to build the monastery here, Songtsen Gampo had first to take the form of a hawk (tra) in order to overcome a local dragon (druk), a miracle that is commemorated in the monastery’s name.
Trandruk was significantly enlarged in the 14th century and again under the auspices of the fifth and seventh Dalai Lamas. The monastery was badly desecrated by Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution.
The entrance of the monastery opens into a courtyard area ringed by cloisters. The building to the rear of the courtyard has a ground plan similar to that of the Jokhang, and shares the same Tibetan name, Tsuglhakhang.
The principal chapel, to the rear centre holds a statue of Tara known as Drolma Sheshema (under a parasol), next to the five Dhyani buddhas. The Tuje Lhakhang to the right has statues of Chenresig, Jampelyang and Chana Dorje, who form the Tibetan trinity known as the Rigsum Gonpo. The stove to the right is said to have belonged to Princess Wencheng (Wencheng Konjo, the Chinese consort of Songtsen Gampo.
Upstairs and to the rear is a central chapel containing a famous thangka of Chenresig made up of 29,000 pearls, as well as an ancient appliqué thangka showing Buddha Sakyamuni. Still, the admission price is very hefty compared with monasteries across Tibet.
Chimpu Nunnery and caves