The Rongbuk Monastery is located at the northern foot of Mt. Everest. The monastery was originally built in 1902 by a Nyingmapa Lama. The area where Rongbuk Monastery was built that had been used by monks and hermits for meditation for over 400 years. The monastery is located 5,000 meters above sea level near the north side base camp of Mount Everest, making it the highest monastery in the world. It is a monastery of the Nyingma sect of Buddhism. It now houses about thirty monks and nuns, but in the past it housed as many as 500. Hermitage meditation caves dot the cliffs around the monastery, and many stones carved with prayers and sacred symbols line the paths to them.
Travel Tips of Rongbuk Monastery Besides the Tibet Entry Permit, you must further apply for Alien Trable Permit, which is issued by the Local Public Security Bureau(PSB) of Tibet to travel Mt. Everest area. The best season to go is the periods between April and May, along with early September and late October, among which less than 20 days are actually fine. So keep a very close eye on the weather changes there if you want to climb. It is about 8 km. (4.97 mi.) to the Everest Base Camp and a good point to appreciate the scenery there at dawn and dark.
There is a hostel in Rongbuk with 100 beds, a dinning room and a store, where tourists and mountaineers may have cooked food and instant food, even beer. 300 meters (980 feet) south of the monastery is the famous Rongbuk Glacier. A distance of 10 kilometers (6 miles) lies between the monastery and Everest Base Camp.
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is seat to the Panchen Lama, the second most important spiritual leader of Tibet. In 1447 the Monastery was founded by His Holiness the 1st Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Gendun Drup, in Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city. It is one of the four great monasteries of Central Tibet and was supervised and looked after by the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas of the Gelugpa, or Yellow Hat tradition. It has the glory of producing thousands of renowned scholars in the field of Mahayana Buddhist Philosophy and Tantra.
During the lifetime of the 4th Panchen Lama, Lobsang Choekyi Gyaltsen, there were more than 3,000 monks in the Monastery and by 1959 there were 5,000, with another 2,000 monks affiliated to the monastery living outside Tibet. The Communist Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959 and the Cultural Revolution from 1966-80 both wreaked destruction on Tibet’s monastic institutions, which lost many precious scriptures, statues and images. Many monks were killed or imprisoned and only 250 were able to follow the Dalai Lama into exile. The monastery was founded in 1447 CE by Gedun Drub, the nephew and disciple of the famous Buddhist philosopher Je Tsongkhapa and later named the First Dalai Lama. The construction was financed by donations from local nobles. In 1791 the monastery was attacked and looted by an army of Nepalese Gurkha warriors but were driven out by the Chinese who at the same time strengthened their control, over the temple and Tibet. Choekyi Gyalpo, the 11th Panchen Lama according to the government of the People’s Republic of China, has been enthroned there, while Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama recognised by the Dalai Lama, has been held under “protective custody” by the Chinese authorities since 1995. Tashilhunpo in its prime had over 4,000 monks and had four Tantric colleges each with its own Abbot. After the death of a Panchen Lama, these four abbots led the search for his infant incarnation and one of them always acted as a prime minister of Tsang under the control of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa.