About 40km east of Lhasa, Ganden Monastery was founded in 1417 by Tsongkhapa.
Ganden is made up of many temples and other buildings. The â€œCuoqin Viharaâ€ has 108 pillars and can house 3500 monks at one time. It has the beautiful and skillfully carved bronze statues of maitreya and Tsong Khapa. The â€œChituokhan Buddhist Templeâ€ is one of the earliest buildings of Ganden. The â€œYanbajian Hallâ€ is a large four-storey building with 72 pillars. Inside the hall is a suit of armor belonging to Chinese Emperor Qian Long, who presented it to Gandan in 1757. It is one of Gandanâ€™s highly-prized treasures. The suit bears an inscription, written in Han, Manchu, Mongol and Tibetan, showing the Qing Emperorâ€™s respect of the Buddha. â€œShidoukhan Palaceâ€ includes the stupa of Tsong Khapa, and marks the place where he died on October 25, 1419. The following years Dama Bergin, a disciple of Tsong Khapa, built a silver stupa in his honor. In later years, the 13th Dalai Lama rebuilt this stupa in gold.
During the Cultural Revolution the monastery was subjected to intense shelling, and monks were made to dismantle the remains.Some 400 monks have now returned and extensive reconstruction work is taking place. The monastery is still well worth visiting and remains an active pilgrimage site.