is actually a collection of Buddhist
chapels and colleges located about
8km west of Lhasa. The word Drepung
can be literally translated as "rice
pile", a name whose meaning becomes
clear when you see the white-walled
buildings scattered along the hill.
Originally founded in 1416, the monastery
in its heyday was home to 10,000 monks
(around 1600). In 1530, the second
Dalai Lama built his palace here,
known as the Ganden Palace, which
was used until the fifth Dalai Lama
built the Potala.
Besides the Ganden Palace,
the Drepung Monastery buildings also
include the tsogchen (the main hall).
This is the most important structure
of the Monastery. It contains several
chapels, of special note are the Chapel
to the Maitreya Buddha and chapels
to local Tibetan protection goddesses
known as Tara.
The Colleges of Drepang
include the Ngagpa (focused on Tantric
study), the Loseling (devoted to the
study of logic and the largest of
the colleges), and two other, lesser
colleges. Monks are allowed to join
a college based on their place of
birth. This ages old "rule"
gives each of the colleges an regional