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Asia - Tibet
08 July 2010

Temple gifts inside one of the grottoes of Drak Yerpa

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Yerpa or Drak Yerpa used to be a Tibetan Buddhist monastery 16 kilometres northeast of Lhasa in the Yerpa valley. There are several smaller temple shrines and hermitages and the cliffs contain several of the earliest known meditation spots in Tibet, fo which some date back to the entrance of Buddhism in Tibet. The best known sites are connectected to king Songtsen Gampo (604-650) and Padmasambhava (8th-9th century), also know as Guru Rinpoche.

In the beginning of the 19th century around 300 monks used to live here, until the 1959 uprising against the Chinese invasion of Tibet. It also used to serve as the summer residence of the tantric college of Gyuto from Lhasa. During the cultural revolution (1966-1976), the gompa of Kadampa (Yerpa Drubde) was completely demolished and the sacred grottoes were plundered.

Afterwards small renovations have been carried out: new statues have been made and new paintings have been made on the walls in the grottoes.