Dranang Monastery | 扎塘寺

Dranang monastery is also called Dratang monastery, and just 2 kilometers away from Dratang down which the monastery is located. It was found in 1081 by Drapa Ngonshe, whom was a native of Dranang valley and one of the 13 Holy men of Dranang valley.

Brief History

Dranang monastery is an important conservation site for the artistic heritage of Tibet, and it is thought to be one of the evidence to prove the Tsangpo River valley region is the source of Tibetan and Tibetan culture.

Dranang monastery became Sakya pa in the 14th-15th century, and then being damaged by the Dzungar armies in the 18th century. It was repaired in the 1920’s and 1930’s by Reting Rinpoche, whom was the regent of Tibet from 1922-1941. Then it was damaged again during the 10 years culture revolution in 1960’s. Despite such enormous loss, the ground floor of the assembly hall has preserved a series of frescoes which are unique in Tibet. That is regarded to represent important synthesis of the Pala Indian Style and central Asian style;

The construction of Dranang monastery is similar to Samye monastery. Its main hall are surrounded by an elliptical wall, as a form of Mandala.

The corridor murals depict the life of Sakyamuni and the careers of major Bodhisattvas, such as Avalokiteshvara. The inner Sanctum to the west is entered through a triple gateway, adorned with paintings of the four guardian kings and Bodhisattvas. This eight-pillared inner sanctum once contained a large 3.4 meters image of the Buddha which was unfortunately destroyed, however, the murals have survived, those of which are on the south, north and west walls dating back from 11th century. Those of the east extremities of the north and south walls from the later Sakya Pa period. There are another 10 groups of early murals and paintings, among of which, those on the west wall are the best preserved, which the stylistic line and vibrant colors can still be seen

On June 11th, 1996, Dranang Monastery was listed as a National Key-Cultural-Relics Protection Units

Address & Contact

Add : Dranang township | 扎囊县101省道
Contact : +86 893 736-2211

Opening hour

Full day

Entrance fee

RMB 20.00 per person


3,600 meters above sea level

Dranang Monastery Location

How to get there

Dranang Monastery is about 50 kilometers from Tsetang county, and 115 kilometers from Lhasa

There is no bus to the monastery, but there are buses that connect Lhasa and Tsetang passing through Dranang county (扎囊县) quite often, it is convenient to take bus and get off at Dranang county (扎囊县) from which you can take local minibus to this site, or walk for about 2 kilometers from the bus stop to this monastery

The simplest way is by taxi or chartered vehicle, which may cost RMB 50.00 – 60.00 per person for a one way journey from Tsetang to here by a 7 seats minivan

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