Labrang Xiahe བླ་བྲང
Labrang(Chi: Xiahe) town is sprawls along the banks of Shangchu River(see above picture). It’s an one street town and is predominantly Hui Muslims at the east side of the town and Tibetans at the west end. Labrang Monastery which is one of the Six great Monasteries in Tibet, lays the edge of the west town at the north shore of Sangchu river. The monastery is founded in 1709 by The First Jamyang Gyapa Ngawang Tsondru(1648-1721) who studied at Drepung Monastery in Lhasa. In his age of 53 to 60, he was the abbot of Drepung Gomang monastery in Lhasa. During his study in Lhasa, he received the title”Gamyang Gyapa’(laughing Manjushri), when a statue of Manjushiri(Tib: Jamyang) laughed at his prostrations in the Manjushiri temple in Lhasa. Jamyang Gyapa’s later reincarnations become the abbot of Labrang Monastery since then. His reincarnations are superseded by H.H The Dailai Lama and Panchen Lama, the two highest ranks of Lama in Tibetan Buddhism. Once he returns to Labrang, he founded the great Monastery of Labrang.
Labrang Monastery, this famous monastery in Amdo region of Tibet, it is home to about 1000 monks. There were 3600 monks in it’s peak in 1958. The First Jamyang Gyapa returned to his home town the Gangya grassland in the March 1709 after graduated from Drepung Monastery in Lhasa. He is searching for the monastery location in this area, finally 22nd of April 1709, he chose Labrang as the location of the monastery, thus the monastery refers as Labrang Monastery. The initial constructionof this monastery is a tent monastery, monks live in tents and pray in tents. Later with great support from 8 local tribes, the first 88 pillar of prayer hall is built.
Today Labrang monastery is one of the biggest monastery in Tibet and one of the foremost great monastery for studying Tibetan language and Buddhism. Many Tibetan and Mogolian monks and students come to the monastery for studying and practice Buddhism. There are six colleges(Tib: Dra Tsang) in the monastery which are Tsannyet Dratsang – Buddhism philosophy college, Gyumed Dratsang-Lower Tantra College, Gyuto Dratsang-Uper Tantra College, Menba Dratsang-Medical College, Dukhor Dratang – Kalachakra or artist College and Jaydro-Vajra College.