Drepung Monastery, situated to the west of Lhasa city, was founded in 1416 by one of Tsong Khapa’s disciples. It was the largest and richest of the three major Yellow Sect monasteries in Lhasa, and it also became the most powerful. It is one of the largest monasteries in the world.
The 5th Dalai Lama enlarged Drepung and ruled there while the Potala was being built. This magnificent monastery was built on an enormous scale, resembling a huge walled city. From its roofs, one can enjoy a scenic view of Lhasa city.
According to religious records, during the foundation of Drepung, Tsong Khapa discovered a magical white conch shell with counter clockwise whorls, believed it to be buried by the Buddha Sakyamuni. Tsong Khapa bestowed this religious treasure to Drepung, and it can still be seen today in the "Great Sutra Chanting Hall".
As the most powerful of the "Gelukpa" monasteries, Drepung had seven colleges and, at its height, housed over 10,000 monks. It owns many splendid murals, elaborate statues and other rich treasures. A giant golden statue of Buddha "Jiangba Tongzhenma" sits near the precious conch shell.