Tradruk Temple is also called Changzhu Monastery. Located in Nêdong County of Shannan Prefecture which is an area to the south of Lhasa, it was founded by the great king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. As one of the oldest Buddhist temples to visit in a travel to Tibet, it’s said to be built at the time when the Jokhang temple just been set up, while some others hold that it’s more earlier that Jokhang.
Tradruk Temple is the biggest and most significant royal old buildings. According to the myth of Tibet, Tradruk was one of the 12 temples to suppress a tremendous demon who lay on her back under Tibet. It was built first on the devil’s left shoulder while the Jokhang temple was in the position of her heart. Another legend says that the site of Tradruk Temple once was a lake where a dragon with 5 heads lived in. In order to defeat this monster, Songtsen Gampo practiced meditation there and called a giant falcon with his magic power. Finally, this incarnation of Avalokitesvara beat the dragon down and remove all the water in the lake. This creates the conditions for the foundations of Tradruk Temple.
In the beginning, there were only a few of buildings in Tradruk Temple. It became the top 3 royal monasteries in the second half of 8th century. However, the ancient place was seriously damaged during the period of Langdarma (841–846) who gave orders to destroy Buddhism and during the time when the Mongol invaded in the 16th century. Tradruk was rebuilt and enlarged in 1351. From then on, the temple began to recover and it became a place with more and more buildings. It was added a golden roof when the 5th Dalai Lama (1642–1682) held power. Later, Tradruk Temple was further expanded by the 7th Dalai Lama (1751–1757). It is said that about 21 temples could be found there In the golden age of Tradruk. During the 1980s, this holy place recovered from the Cultural Revolution. With an area of 4667 square meters, today it had been listed as one of the key cultural relics protection units in China.
Architecture and great masterpieces there
The core of the Tradruk is a chapel which stood in the innermost area and is said to be one of the oldest buildings in the time of Songtsen Gampo.
According to local folklore, this chapel is a place where some Buddha statues made by stone were preserved.
The most famous and precious masterpiece in Tradruk is a Tangka decorated with nearly 30,000 pearls and some other gems. The locals believe that it was made by princess Wen Cheng who is an incarnation of White Tara on her own. As one of the rare art works of Wen Cheng, this Tangka is kept on the upper floor of the central chapel. In the early time of Tradruk Temple, a statue of Tara which is said to have a mysterious power to communicate with people could be found in the main hall of this holy site. According to legend, two of the greatest masters in Tibet, Guru Rinpoche and Milarepa, had practiced Buddhism there, this made Tradruk Temple a shrine for Buddhists and pilgrims.
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