Shalu monastery was be built by noble families of the Tsangpa during Tibet’s great revival of Buddhism, and was an important center of the Sakya Pa. It is known as a center of scholarly learning and psychic training for hundreds of years and its mural paintings were considered to be the most ancient and beautiful in Tibet.
The protection of Shalu was a project that was listed under the 11th Five Years Plan (2006 – 2010). It was thought to be one of the biggest heritage renovation projects in Tibet that involves reinforcement of its buildings, maintenance of sewage treatment facilities and improvement of fire and flood control systems”.
Shalu is about 30 kilometers south of Shigatse , was founded in 1040 AD by Chetsun Sherab Jungnay, and being extended in the early 14th century, by Kunzang Drakpa Gyaltsen. Shalu is one of the rare religious sites in Tibet that luckily avoiding the demolishing during the Cultural Revolution. The main Serkhang Temple was rebuilt in the middle of 1980 of 20th century, its interiors still remain exactly as what it was built. The history of the assembly hall dated back to the 11th century, which was rare and precious examples of Pala art. Unfortunately, some of the murals in the ground floor chapels are partly damaged due to the lack of knowledge of preserving this old arts;
Shalu was destroyed by an earthquake in 1329 AD, and was rebuilt in 1333 AD by local noble families and the last Khagan of the Mongol Empire Toghon Temür. The new buildings were dominated by Mongolian styles, however, the artisans are from Tibet and Nepal that results the style of Shalu is one mixture of Mongol, Tibet, and Nepal.
At the time of the monastery’s rebuilding 1330, Buton Rinpoche (1290 AD -1364 AD) was the host of the monastery, whom was a remarkable scholar and writer of the Sakya Pa and is Tibet’s most celebrated historian. He brought the the fundamental texts of Buddhism “Kanjur” & “Tenjur” to Shalu, in the meantime he supervised the creation of nearly 500 tantric mandalas, some of which are still be seen if the monk allows you to enter the sacred chapel. Buton Rinpoche cataloged the Buddhism texts. He also wrote the History of Buddhism in India and Tibet there, which many Tibetan scholars use in their study today. After his death the monastery became an important center of Tibetan Buddhism studiy and Buddhist learning for centuries.
Shalu Monastery Data
Xia Lu village, Jia Cuo Xiong Xiang
09:00 am – 17:30 pm
RMB 40 per person
How to get to there
From Shigarste bus station, one bus evey 40 minutes to one hours; rate: RMB 5 per person
By Chartered vehicle
Approximately RMB 100.00-150.00 round trip