Drak Yerpa is a sacred monastery located 36 kilometers from Lhasa City. The monastery is inlayed the rocks of the cliff around. It was built in seven century AD. It has a long history of more than 1,500 years and is one of the most famous monasteries in the history of Tibet. The monastery mainly enshrines and worships the Maitreya Buddha and visitors can see a lot of holes for the eminent monk to do practice.
According to the record of the Tibetan history, all previous generations of eminent monks like the Tibetan king Sontzen Gampo and the first princess Monza had been studied Zen (禅) here. Padmasambhava, the father of Tibetan Buddhism from Wuzhang of India also left his footmark here.
There is a folk song about the Drak Yerpa, “the sacred place of Tibet is Lhasa while the sacred place of Lhasa is Drak Yerpa; if you go to Lhasa without Drak Yerpa, which equals to make new clothes without collar.” The Drak Yerpa is known as the secret area hidden on the back of the Holy City.
What to See
Every important religious sect would build an ashram between the cliffs. Around the ashrams, there are caverns in different shapes and different scales. On the walls of the caverns, the Bodhisattva and the frescos are as natural as though it were living. Depending on the gentle light bright into the cavern, it will make visitors feel like staying in the fairyland.
Every cavern here has a beautiful legend and a relative name, such as the Moon Cavern and the Lalong Cavern. The special location and the miraculous historic legend of Drak Yerpa make it a sacred place. It is a must-visit place for visitors to sightseeing, traveling, engaging in archaeological studies and worshiping the Buddhism.
Sacred Buddha Hall
Drak Yerpa is one of the sacred monasteries of Princess Bhrikuti built by Sontzen Gampo, the king of Tibetan. It gained its name because of Yerpa ditch. In the later period, because there was an ancient Indian Buddhist master, Attisha, the first successor of the Tibetan Buddhism, Sontzen Gampo the king of Tibetan, Padmasambhava and some other famous people studying hard here, Drak Yerpa became one of the four monasteries of Tibet.
Among the building group of Drak Yerpa, there are three halls giving visitors deep impression. One of them is the famous sngags gling-Qiangba Buddha-hall. The Buddha hall contains a yellow and a white hall. On the front gate of the hall, there is a single room, in which there are hundreds of butter lamps. Entering into the main hall, visitors can see two rows of benches. On the benches, the mafors are packed and stacked neatly.
It is the place where monks study Buddhism. The figure of Buddha enshrined and worshiped here is as tall as a three-storey building. The figure of the Qiangba Buddha is the tallest in Tibetan.
The Greatest Hall
Not far from the sngags gling-Qiangba Buddha-hall, visitors can see a courtyard with its outside wall pained white. The corridor outside the gate is totally a small tunnel dug in the body of the mountain. Go roughly along the tunnel, the Padma Sambhava appears before visitors. It is another famous Padma Sambhava cavern in Drak Yerpa.
The last palace hall is the grandest and the most structured palace hall and the only one is not built by the side of the mountain. On the surface of the palace hall, it is painted with red and yellow. On the top of the roof, there are golden fairy deer, Dharma-cakra and Buddhism lection standing tall and upright.
Compared with the other building in Drak Yerpa, it is not only markedness but full of momentum. On the first floor, the figure of Buddha is with kind face and there are colorful snakes on his head. On the second floor, it enshrines and worships Sontzen Gampo, the king of Tibetan and the imperial concubines including Princess Bhrikuti. It is the earliest and the most important palace hall among the Drak Yerpa.
Beautiful Snow Mountain
From the Drak Yerpa, visitors can see the Yerpa ditch below and the grand sight of the snow mountain from the distance. The lower altitude of the snow mountain is covered with red, yellow and green plants and on the higher place, it is snow-capped with the white snow. The white tops are connected with the white cloud and the blue sky.
Lhasa is a city not only absorbing the colorful culture from all over the world but also the local historic culture as well. The sacred place boasts unforgettable blue sky and the charming plateau. Standing on the grassland, hearing the sound of wind and seeing the beautiful temple will wash your soul. Potala Palace is one of the place must-visit when going to Lhasa. It is one of the landmarks. In Lhasa, snow mountain is a highlight visitors have to see. The grand view of the Gangrenboqi Mountain will give visitors a shock on the peaceful plateau. To go shopping, Barkhor Street is the best choice. There visitors can buy the local specialties like the handicraft.
Solo Adventure Tips:
40 km outside of Lhasa, Lhasa, China
How to Get There?
On the Jokhang Temple Square, there is shuttle bus running straight to Drak Yerpa from 7:00 to 8:00. It is 20 Yuan per person. Visitors had better to ask the driver about the right time to go and come back from Drak Yerpa in case of missing the bus.
Peak season: 20 Yuan Slack season: free
8: 00 to 18: 00
The best time to visit Lhasa is August to October. In this period, the weather is comfortable and is not as dry as that in spring and winter. Lhasa is known as the City of Sunlight. Visitors had better prepare some sun scream and sunglasses to protect you from the ultraviolet light.
In summer and autumn, visitors can pay a visit to the palace and the monastery like The Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Drepung Monastery in the daytime. When the night falls, visitors can experience the Tibetan Bar and the sharply different style in Tibet. In August, the Shoton Festival will welcome visitors to appreciate the wonderful performances and the spectacular scene showing the Buddha.
In winter and spring, visitors can not only enjoy the discount of the admission fee but a good time to experience the plateau hot spring especially available in winter. In addition to enjoy the winter hot spring, there may be an opportunity to witness the beautiful landscape of the falling snow. It is such a romantic scene. In spring, it is the best time to climb the snow mountain. There are several mountain especially prepared for the freshman to climb.