The Ganden Monastery is located on the Wangpori Mountain sitting at an altitude of 3800 meters within the Dagzê County of Lhasa. The Wangpori Mountain looks like a resting elephant carrying on its back a huge architectural complex. The monastery stands on the mountain with an overlapping building complex which creates a very tremendous view.
Out of the six grand monasteries of the Gelug sect, the Ganden Monastery has the most special status. It was built in 1409 by Tsongkhapa, the founder of Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Thus, it can be considered as the ancestral monastery of the Gelug sect which was given the name of Yongshou Monastery by Qing Shizong (1678-1735).
The Ganden Monastery together with the Drepung Monastery and the Sera Monastery is referred to as “the three grand monasteries” of Lhasa. Ganden means the world moralized by the Futuristic Buddha Maitreya in Tibetan languages, which shows that the monks in this monastery worship the “Maitreya Pure Land”.
The successors of Tsongkhapa who have been the leader of the Gelug Sect from generation to generation, reincarnations of Ganden Tripa, live here. There is still preserved the remains of Ganden Tripa reincarnations in the 90 stupas as well as many cultural relics and handicrafts from the Ming Dynasty inside of the monastery.