Sakya is 150km southwest
of Shigatse (and 25km from Lhatse),
and the 150km journey takes at least
6 hours. The monastery is set in the
midst of a large plain straddling
a river. The village around has become
a Chinese community, and the Tibetans
have become very corrupt.
What stands here today
is the old Southern Monastery, an
imposing Mongol-style structure. (The
Northern Monastery was completely
destroyed during the cultural revolution).
The Monastery today still resembles
a massive fortress, with turrets at
each of the four corners of its huge
walls. The views across to the mountains
and the carvings thereon are wonderful.
The monastery was built in 1268 and
is designed with thick walls and guard
towers. The Sakyapa sect of Tibetan
Buddhism have ruled this temple throughout
its history, famous for their custom
of hereditary succession and patronage
by Mongol rulers.
Inside the temple are
many chapels and halls dedicated to
various Buddhas such as Sakyamuni
and Manjushri. Also, there are many
large Buddha statues, some of which
are actually burial vessels for former
abbots of the Monastery. The central
courtyard of the monastery features
a huge prayer pole with chapels around
For great views of the
surrounding landscape, you can walk
the great walls protecting the monastery.