Drepung – Monastery of Collecting Rice

The night of Day 2 saw heavy downpours at my hotel area in Lhasa. The guides told us that such heavy rain were pretty rare in Tibet and should be seen as positive omens welcoming us to the country.

I stepped out of my room the next day morning feeling sick, weak and nauseous. I refused to eat the horrible breakfast prepared by the hotel and brought my own Kang Shifu Hong Shao beef instant noodles down instead. I am not alone on this, many of my tour mates were happily wolfing down their Kang Shifu as well. The local chinese however seem to really enjoy the hotel breakfast. Well, what can I say…we Singaporeans are a pretty spoilt bunch. 😛

The morning was not a pretty sight…. the heavy downpour has subsided but there was still a substantial drizzle. We have to brave the rain from the hotel entrance to the bus which was quite a distance away…feeling more and more sick now…..

Our first stop for the day is Drepung Monastery.  Located at the foot of Mount Gephel, it is one of the Great 3 Gelukpa University Monasteries. The other two are Ganden and Sera Monastery. It is comparable to NUS status with the 2 universities in Singapore.

Boosting an area of 250,000 square meters, it held over 7,000 monks, 100 fazendas and 500 pastures in its heyday. From far,  its grand, white facade makes it seems like a heap of rice hence it was named ‘Drepung Monastery’ which means Monastery of Collecting Rice in Tibetan.

We saw a man selling and burning some kind of dry grass while we begin our ascend up the monastry. The smoke from the burning was believed to be of religious purpose, good for health and to keep away harmful insects.

Grass Smoke
Dried grass sold at the foot of the mountain to be burned for both religious and practical reasons.

He is not a begger
This child is not a begger. He makes money by helping tourist break their large notes into smaller ones for offerings in the temple.

I really have to hand it to the monks there. They are able to stand the extreme cold while wearing so little.

Nice paved and gentle sloping pathway looks deceivingly easy.

A water driven tibetian prayer wheel

Beautiful tibetian streetscape does have some resemblance to that of the europeans

Intricate painted wall murals are one of the greatest expressions of Tibetan art

After Drepung, we were supposed to set off to Sera Monastery to see the a session of monks debating amongst themselves. That unfortunately did not materialise as the rain continued and the monks well….with no outdoor venue for the debate decided to give themselves a break. 😛

Nevertheless, the youtube video below should give you a glimpse of the debate session.


I was quite relieved that we are giving Sera a miss. Because by late afternoon, I was having a very bad diarrhea…. Hence while the rest are happily going shopping at Barkhor Street, I rushed back to clear my bowel and get some rest before dinner and Tibetian Cultural Performance in the evening.

The evening was pure hell…I shall continue what happened in the next entry.

You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here

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