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Ramoche Monastery
One of the Oldest Monasteries in Tibet

According to legend, Ramoche Monastery, located in the northeastern section of Lhasa, was commissioned, constructed and consecrated at the same time as Jokhang Monastery. Built under the aegis of the Tang Dynasty Princess Wencheng, the gate of the monastery faces east to show the princess's nostalgia for her homeland. The temple was known as Gyuiada Ramo Chezolhakang, meaning “a monastery incarnated from a Han tiger”. In Tibetan, Jokhang means a major Buddha while Ramoche means a minor Buddha.

Enshrined in the major hall of Ramoche Monastery, the statue of Sakyamuni was taken from Chang'an (today's Xi'an) to Tibet by Princess Wencheng, while the major hall of the Jokhang Monastery houses the statue of Sakyamuni was taken from Kathmandu to Tibet by the Nepalese Princess Bhributi. The two monasteries later exchanged their statues of Sakyamuni. According to the records of Jokhang Monastery that was established by the 5th Dalai Lama, the statue of Sakyamuni from Chang'an was initially housed in Ramoche Monastery, but after the death of the Tubo king Songtsan Gambo, Jokhang and Ramoche monasteries exchanged the statues of Sakyamuni. In accordance with instructions issued by Princess Wencheng, the statue of Sakyamuni was made. The statue of Sakyamuni from Kathmandu is thus the major Buddha statue worshiped at Ramoche Monastery.

Ramoche Monastery consists of three storeys, the lower floor consists of a portico, sutra and Buddha halls, which are surrounded by a corridor for ritual perambulations. The walls of the corridor are covered with painted statues of the Amitabha Buddha. The top storey is covered with Han-style golden tiles that glisten in the sun and can be seen from all corners of Lhasa. The Lhasa Upper Tantric College for monks of the Gelug Sect has been established in Ramoche Monastery, and the college abbot also serves as the abbot of the monastery.

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