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Tradruk Temple

By Gaurav Manandhar at
Tradruk Temple

Tradruk Temple

Tradruk Temple or Tradruk monastery is the earliest great geomantic temple after the Jokhang. This temple is located in Nedong County of Lhoka in the Tibet Autonomous Region. In Chinese, Tradruk Temple is referred to as Changzhou Monastery. It is believed that this temple was established under the direct order of King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century.

Legend behind the Tradruk Temple

As legend mentions that the site of Tradruk Temple was originally a lake. The five headed dragon used to inhabit in this lake. In order to chase away this dragon, Songtsen Gampo with the help of deep meditation called a huge falcon who defeated the dragon. The falcon also drank all the water deposited in this lake. Hence, there was a plain land and the Tradruk temple was built on it.

Another legend mentions that Tradruk temple was built to hold down the huge supine ogress under Tibet. Hence it stands on her left shoulder. Other temples- Katsel and Gyama which lies in Maizhokunggar County stand on her right shoulder while the Jokhang lies on her heart.

Historical account of Tradruk Temple

It is recorded that during the rule of Trisong Detsen and Mune Tsenpo, Trandruk Temple was one of the three royal monasteries. But during the persecution of Buddhism under Langdarma, the monastery was heavily damaged.

It was only restored and enlarged in the mid 14th century. But was again damaged during the Mongol invasion. It was restored during the reign of 5th Dalai Lama. The monastery also got a golden roof. It was further expanded during the reign of 7th Dalai Lama. It was recorded that by the late 18th century, Tradruk temple housed around 21 Buddhist temples.

But again during the cultural revolution, the buildings and temples were destroyed. It was again renovated and reconsecrate as a sacred place in the late 20th century. Hence after the site is under the national protection. As of present condition, the temple complex has an area of 4667 square meters.

Artifacts of the temple

Since the Tradruk temple has converted into the temple complex, there are other temples along with the original temple. It is said that the center of the temple in the innermost chapel is the original temple built by Songtsen Gampo. It is also believed that this temple housed Buddha statues of stone and a Tara statue. But in the present period, the chapel houses only clay figures and it is said that these figures contain fragments of the original statues.

Apart from the original temple, thangka made by Princess Wencheng herself is also the most important treasure. The thangka displays Wencheng as White Tara and is embroidered with thousands of pearls. Due to its value, the thangka is preserved in the central chapel on the upper floor. Princess Wencheng also made other two thangkas which are in the reliquary stupa of the 5th Dalai Lama in the Potala Palace in Lhasa and in Xigaze.

Along with the thangka, the Tradruk temple also houses famous talking statue of Padmasambhava in the same room. This statue portrays Padmasambhava as an eight years old boy.

It is said that the famous bell was also installed on the verandah which is not in the monastery anymore. It is recorded that the there was an inscription mentioning the name of Trisong Detsen in that bell. Besides the temple complex also houses several small shrines.

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