Dargya Monastery, also known as Dargya Drashi Pungtsoling in Tibetan, means “prosperous and auspicious land.” It is commonly referred to as Dargya Monastery, which signifies “prosperous monastery.” It is a Gelug pa monastery. At its peak, the monastery housed up to 3000 monks.
The monastery was founded in 1662 AD by Angwang Pungtso, a disciple of the 5th Dalai Lama. It is one of the most renowned monasteries among the thirteen monasteries in the Hor region,
Initially located in the Dage Loka Mountain Valley. The present location of the monastery is on a hillside in the “Rongba Cha” area of Kagon Township, about 28 kilometers from Garze County, right next to the Sichuan-Tibet Highway.
Covering an area of 148,000 square meters, the monastery faces south and is built on the mountainside, integrating Han and Tibetan architectural features. The layout of the entire monastery is well-organized and orderly, with a striking red and white color scheme, resembling a grand palace, exuding a sense of solemnity, magnificence, and grandeur.
The current main hall, with 1 ground floor and 2 upper floors, was constructed in the 1980s, modeled after the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. It is built with reinforced concrete and houses giant statues of Shakyamuni, Tsongkhapa, and Avalokiteshvara.
According to legend, in order to expand the influence of the Gelug Pa, Angwang Pungtso, under the orders of the 5th Dalai Lama, was tasked with building 13 Gelug Pa monasteries in the Hor region of Kham. One day, while washing his face at the Lhe-xi Ferry in Rongba Cha, Angwang Pungtso placed his prayer beads on a stone on top of a hill. At that moment, a crow picked up the prayer beads and flew to a nearby hill, placing them on another stone. Angwang Pungtso realized that the bird was an emanation of the Buddha and interpreted it as a divine sign. Consequently, he decided to relocate the monastery from its original location in Dage Loka Mountain Valley to the hill where the crow had placed the prayer beads.
The villagers in the Rongba Cha area take great pride in Dargya Monastery, which is probably inseparable from the powerful influence of the monastery. During the Qing Dynasty (1616 AD – 1912 AD), Dargya Monastery was famous for its monk soldiers and abundant wealth. The capital for business was Between 1 to 5 million silver dollars, and there were specialized lamas engaging in business in various Tibetan areas such as Kangding, Garze, Chamdo, and Lhasa to support the livelihood of other monks in the monastery.
The liveliest activity in the monastery is the annual summer festival in July and August in Da-lao-gou. Local villagers come to watch Tibetan opera, participate in singing, horse racing, and the Guo-zhuang dance (a dance similar to tap dance in Garze).
In addition, in June, there is a mountain circumambulation activity around the nearby sacred mountain (resembling the helmet of King Gesar), which is also one of the more lively events in this area.
The monks strictly adhere to discipline. The main gate is closed at night, and anyone who needs to go out must obtain permission from the Ge-she.
The monastery was destroyed in 1932, rebuilt in 1940, and expanded in 1956 to cover an area of over 150,000 square meters, with over 3,000 monks and lamas. In 1958, the majority of them returned to secular life, and in 1967, the monastery was demolished.