Built in 1447, the Tashilhungpo (meaning auspicious Sumeru) Monastery is located on the southern slope of the Nyima Mountain to the west of the Xigaze city. It is one of the four monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. According to historical documents, the monastery was built under the supervision of the first Dalai Lama Genden Zhuba, a disciple of Zongkapa, the founder of the Yellow Sect. When the fourth Panchen Lobsan Qoigyi became the abbot, it was expanded to a large scale. Since then, the monastery has become the residence of Panchen Lama. Listed as a key relic under state protection by the State Council on March 4, 1961, the monastery occupies 150,000 square meters. Facing south, the complex is built symmetrically against the Nyima Mountain. Its wall, over 3,000 meters long and built according to the topography of the mountain, surrounds 57 buildings, or more than 3,600 rooms.
The earliest building in the monastery is the Coqen Hall (Large Scripture Hall), whose construction lasted 12 years. Inside are 48 red pillars, which support the ceiling. In the center of the hall is the throne of the Panchen. To the left of the hall is the Great Buddha Hall, built in 1461 with financial support from Jorwo Zhabung, king of Guge Kingdom in Ngari. Inside stands the 11-meter-tall, benevolent-looking Maitreya. To the right of the hall is the Tara Hall, which houses a two-meter-tall bronze statue of White Tara and two clay statues of Green Tara. The interior is decorated with schist collected at the foot of the Himalayas and radiates a peaceful aura. In front of the hall is a 600-square-meter area where the Panchen gives Buddhist lectures and lamas discuss Buddhist scriptures. On the surrounding stone walls are engravings of the images of the Buddhism founder, the four Heavenly Kings, the 18 arhats and 1,000 statues of Buddha with different facial expressions. In the middle of the northern wall are engraved images of sages such as Zongkapa, the founder of the Yellow Sect, 80 senior monks and variously styled flying apsaras and Bodhisattva.
Gyinalhakang, the Han Chinese Buddhist Temple, houses many gifts to the Panchen from the Chinese emperors of past dynasties, such as ancient porcelain wares, gold and silver goblets, tea sets, bowls and plates, jade containers and refined fabrics. The earliest objects, the nine bronze Buddha statues, are said to have been brought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). A red Tara bronze statue is believed to have been made in the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368). A 16.5-jin gold seal, inscribed with the three languages of Chinese, Mongolian and Tibetan, is a gift from an emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911). There are also Buddhist beads made of precious stone, imperial mandates and Buddhist scriptures. Inside the hall hangs a huge picture of a Qing-dynasty emperor in kasaya holding a Dharma wheel. Before the picture is a tablet inscribed with Long live Emperor Daoguang (reigning 1821-1851). When the emperor issued a decree, the Panchen would kowtow to express his gratitude before the tablet after receiving it. The side hall of the Han Chinese Buddhist Temple is the meeting room where the Qing-dynasty grand minister resident of Tibet and the Panchen used to meet.