Samye Monastery is situated in the serene Shannan Region, to the north of Tsangpo river on the foot of Mt. Haibu Rishen. This is the first monastery in entire Tibet to be built which consists of the three Buddhist idols of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. This monastery is very popular with all Buddhist pilgrims from around the world.
The construction of the monastery was started in the year 779 under the supervision of Tibetan King Trisong Detsen. It was then handed over to the famous Buddhist master
Samye Monastery Tibet
Padmasambhava who continued the construction of the monastery. On the day of the foundation ceremony, King Trisong Detsen gave permission to seven descendants of the blue blood for staying in the temple and for cultivation in it. They were the first group of monks ever to stay in the Samye Monastery. They came to be known as ‘Seven Enlightened Disciples of Samye’. Since then, the monastery has become a national treasure and is now under the care of the government.
Samye Monastery is also equally important to the people of Tibet. They say if you visit the complete temple, you would have traveled the entire universe. The whole monastery is build as an exact replica of Universe mentioned in the Sutras. In the center, the majestic Wuzi hall depicts Mt. Meru, which is considered to be the starting point of the world. Similar to the position of Sun and Moon in Universe, the sun and moon Chapel are constructed in north and south respectively. The four large halls and eight smaller one symbolizes the four large and eight small continents of the world. There is a circular wall all round the monastery which depicts the boundary of the World.
This monastery is called as the ‘Three Styled Temple’ as the hall is divided into three layers, all with different styles, the lowest layer in Tibetan style, middle layer in Han style and the topmost layer in Indian style. On the middle layer of hall, Historical records of Tibet are inscribed on the walls which contains the religious history of Tibet. There are many captivating murals that hangs on the wall and show the history of Samye monastery apart from the biography of the legendary master Padmasambhava. A pair of spectacular lion sculpture, ancient artifacts that are well preserved and the first bell made in the history of Tibet are also there in the monastery.
One should try to visit this monastery on January 5 or May 16, according to Tibetan calendar, because on these days embroidery of Sakyamuni is put on display for pilgrims to pay their homage. This monastery is open from 9 AM in the morning till 4 PM in the evening. The monastery is quite accessible from the city center. You have to take a bus up to Samye Ferry located at the banks of Tsangpo river. From there take a boat cruise or cross the river through the bridge. Though boat ride is obviously more interesting with full of scenic beauty. From the other end of the river you will get special Monastery bus service that will take you to the doorstep of the monastery. By paying a small amount you can enter the Samye Monastery. It is advisable to take a flashlight along, as few portions of the hall can be quite dark. We suggest you to spend at least half day to explore this pilgrimage center completely. The sight not only holds an attraction of a pilgrimage destination but is equally known for its breathtaking architecture.