SHIGATSE: It is situated between 29o 02’N and 88o 08’E in the southwest of the Tibet Autonomous Region where Nyangchu River joins the Yarlung Tsangpo River. Shigatse is the second biggest town in Tibet and it is the center of transportation and distribution of agriculture and husbandry products from the southeastern part of Tibet. “Shigatse” in Tibetan means the “Estate that fulfills one’s Wishes.”
TASHILHUNPO MONASTER: Tashilhunpo Monastery is the biggest Gelugpa monastery in the Tsang region of Tibet. It is located in the town of Sigatse and was founded by Gedun Drup, a disciple of Tsongkapa, the founder of the Gelungpa Sect. Gedun Drup is recognized as the first Dalai Lama. It was first built in 1447 and continuously expanded by the successive Panchen Lamas. The Ngagpa College (Tantric College), one of its four monastic colleges, is the residence of the Panchen lamas. The most amazing image in this monastery is the statue of the giant Maitreya (Future Buddha) erected by the 9th Panchen Lama in 1914.
It took four years to build this monumental statue which stands twenty six meters high and is composed of 275 Kg. of solid gold, and a great quantity of precious things such as pearls, turquoise, coral and amber. The 4th Panchen Lama’s funeral stupa was built in 1662 and it stands eleven meters high and is covered in solid gold and silver.