Shalu Monastery is located southwest of Shigatse. It is about 25 km from Shigatse city. The monastery is famous for its Buddhist frescos and scriptures. Thus, you can explore ancient Buddhism and learn local history there.
History of Shalu Monastery
In 1040, Shalu Monastery was built by Jetsun Sherab Jungnay, a Tibetan scholar about Tibetan Buddhism. Shalu means “New Bud” in Tibetan. It is said that Jungnay shoot an arrow and accidentally hit a new bud. Therefore, he decided to build a monastery under the name of “New Bud” per his teacher’s wish.
In 1320, Buton Rinchen Drup was invited to the monastery to be the 11th abbot. Buton established Shalu Sect (or Buton order), which later belonged to Sakyapa Sect. Also, he had deep knowledge about Buddhism and wrote a lot of great works about Buddhism and history. In 1329, Shalu Monastery was destructed by a heavy earthquake in Shigatse. After that, Buton organized a renovation with the help of local noble families. With the assistance of Han works from the hinterland, Shalu Monastery blends Han architecture style with Tibetan style.
In 1981 and 1989, the government invested huge money in renovating the monastery. Now there are about 60 monks.
Architecture in Shalu Monastery
The main building is called Shalu Lakhang Temple in the center of the monastery. On the ground floor of Tsochen, there displayed the statue of Sakyamuni and its disciples. On both sides of Tsochen flank the chapels of Tanyur and Kangyur. Tanyur is the collection of commentaries and Kangyur is the scripture of commandments. Both are very important Buddhism scriptures in Tibet. On the second floor, you can see a Chinese style quadrangle. There housed Sakyamuni, Buton and Arhats. Besides, there are many murals around the walls. The murals are very exquisite including women, liger, flowers etc. The murals have strong Yuan Dynasty color and look very vivid.
Four Treasures in Shalu Monastery
There are four precious objects containing in the monastery, known as “Four Treasures”. The first one is a sutra board of 700 years old. It is made up from 108 blocks of sandalwood. Every block has one word of the sutra. Thus, the 108 block constitute a sentence of sutra. When pilgrims go to the monastery, they all want a scripture printed on the board and believe it will bring them good luck. The second treasure is a brass jar in the northwestern corner of the monastery. The jar has a diameter of 80 centimeters and was renewed every 12 years. The water in the jar has magical power, which can cure 108 diseases and clean dirt in human’s body. The third treasure is a stone basin used by Jetsun Sherab Jungnay. The legend says the water in the basin never flow out even in rainy days. Finally, the last treasure is a stone tablet with the six-word mantra “"om mani Padme Hum” with four dagobas on the edges.
1. The admission fee is RMB 40. The opening hour is 9:00-17:30.
2. You can spend one day visiting the monastery. And for trekking, normally 3-4 days Shalu Monastery to Narthang Monastery is a nice route.