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Sera Monastery, Lhasa

4.4
#3 of 18 in Historic Sites in Lhasa
Dedicated to the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Sect, Sera Monastery treasures frescoes, colorful statues, and scriptures written in gold powder. The monastery stands on a hill covered with wild roses. The main buildings include an assembly hall supported with more than 100 pillars, 33 dormitories organized around a central courtyard, and three colleges boasting well-preserved frescos. To visit Sera Monastery on your holiday in Lhasa, and find out what else Lhasa has to offer, use our Lhasa trip planner .
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Sera Monastery Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
698 reviews
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4.4
TripAdvisor
  • While the Sera monastery is not one of the more attractive monasteries, a visit on a day when a so-called debate is taking place in well worth the trip. I wouldn't call the activity a debate, as such;...  more »
  • Interesting monastery to see. Large area and pleasant walk if the weather is good. At certain time (for us was around 15:00) all the Buddhism students are getting together for a debating class in a co...  more »
Google
  • Personally, I don’t like Sera Monastery much but it is another must-seen when in Lhasa. It is one of the biggest Monastery there and the most important thing that it is the only one Monastery have the debate in public. However, do not expect much because it is difficult for normal people to understand. My travel guide let us come in alone because he has heard thousands times and he could not understand at all. The most disliked thing here is the public toilets, the smell is disgusting and spread everywhere. Anyway, it’s a must-seen, so let enjoy it :)
  • Fascinating Spectacle of Debating Monks Our group of 14 visited the Sera Monastery on 9th June 2018 in the afternoon. After obtaining entry tickets (50 CNY per person), we passed through the security gate and walked up along the stone paved path for about 250 metres, stopping on the way to see a small Stupa on the right hand side. The path led us to the Debating Courtyard of crushed stone, where monks debate Buddhist scripture at 1500 hours every day except on Sundays. When we reached the “Debating Courtyard” around 1545, the debating session was in full swing. There were more than 100 monks in the courtyard, some seated on cushions and others standing. The air in the courtyard was filled with the sound of monks some yelling and insistent and others listening and speaking quietly. The gestures of the monks, using their whole body, moving forward and backwards, at the same time bringing their hands together in a violent clap appeared to give force to each ones argument. You get used to the noise of continuous smacking of hands and feel a sense of energy in the air. The public are allowed to watch this ritual from the sides. However, photographing within the Debating Courtyard is not permitted except with the cell phones. I was fascinated by this spectacle. At the conclusion of the debating session all monks seated themselves and recited their prayers. During the prayer session a senior monk walked around the praying monks holding a lighted incense stick. We next visited the Assembly Hall built on a large number of columns draped in red cloth. There were many Buddha statues here, together with a multitude of other statues and coloured drawings on the walls. The seats on the hall draped in red are for the monks who come to the hall to pray as well as for administrative meetings. Although photographs are not permitted, after pleading with the monks using hand gestures, I was permitted to take just three photos within the Assembly Hall. These I now greatly treasure!
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