Tradruk Temple
Tibetan name
Tibetan: ཁྲ་འབྲུག་དགོན་པ།
Wylie transliteration: khra ’brug dgon pa
pronunciation in IPA: [ʈʂʰaŋʈʂuk kø̃pa]
official transcription (PRC): Changzhug
THDL: Tradruk
other transcriptions: Trandruk, Trangdruk,
Tradrug, Trandrug, Trangdrug
Chinese name
traditional: 昌珠寺
simplified: 昌珠寺
Pinyin: Chāngzhū Sì

Tradruk Temple, also written Trandruk, (Wylie): Khra' 'brug, (Pinyin): Changzhug, in the Yarlung Valley is the earliest great geomantic temple after the Jokhang - and some sources say it is even pre-dates the Jokhang.[1]

It is located in Nêdong County of Shannan Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, about seven kilometres south of the county seat Tsetang (Ch. Zêtang).[2]

Founding legends

Tradruk Temple is the largest and most important of the surviving royal foundations in the Yarlung Valley.[3] It is said to have been founded in the 7th century under king Songtsen Gampo.

According to one legend, Tradruk was one of twelve geomantic temples, Tadü (མཐའ་འདུལ་ mtha’ ’dul) and Yangdü (ཡང་འདུལ་ yang ’dul), which were built to hold down the huge supine ogress Sinmo (སྲིན་མོ་ srin mo, Sanskrit राक्षसि rākṣasi) under Tibet: Tradruk was said to stand on her left shoulder, Gazai (ཀ་རྩལ་ ka rtsal / བཀའ་ཚལ་ bka’ tshal / བཀའ་རྩལ bka’ rtsal) bei Gyama (རྒྱ་མ་ rgya ma / Jiǎmǎ 甲马) in Maizhokunggar (མལ་གྲོ་གུང་དཀར་རྫོང་mal gro gung dkar rdzong / Mòzhúgōngkǎ Xiàn 墨竹工卡县) on her right shoulder and the Qokang in Lhasa on her heart.[4] According to another legend, at the site of the monastery there was originally a lake inhabited by a dragon with five heads. Songzain Gambo was able to call a huge falcon by meditation, which defeated the dragon and drank all the water of the lake, so that the temple could be built.[5] This legend would explain the name of the temple.


Under the rule of Trisong Detsen (755–797) and Muné Tsenpo, Tradruk was one of the three royal monasteries.

During the persecution of Buddhism under Langdarma (glang dar ma, 841–846) and during the Mongol invasion from Junggaria (northern modern Xinjiang) in the 16th century, the monastery was heavily damaged.

In 1351, Tradruk was restored and enlarged; during the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama (1642–1682), the monastery got a golden roof and under the 7th Dalai Lama (1751–1757), it was further expanded. In the late 18th century, Tradruk is said to have had 21 temples. Several buildings were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. During the 1980s, the monastery was renovated and in 1988 it was consecrated again.[6] Today, the complex has an area of 4667 square metres and is under national protection.[7]

Architecture and craftwork

The centre of the temple is the innermost chapel, which is said to date back to the original temple built by Songtsen Gampo; according to the legend, it held Buddha statues of stone and a Tara statue. Today, the chapel houses clay figures which are said to contain fragments of the original statues.

The most important treasure of Tradruk is a Tangka embroidered with thousands of pearls, which is said to have been made by princess Wen Cheng herself. It depicts Wen Cheng as White Tara. The Tangka is kept in the central chapel on the upper floor. It is one of only three Tangkas made by Wen Cheng. The two other ones are in the reliquary stupa of the 5th Dalai Lama in the Potala in Lhasa and in Shigatse. There is a famous "talking" statue of Padmasambhava at the age of eight years in the same room in Tradruk.

Tradruk used to have a famous bell on the verandah which is not in the monastery any more with an inscription containing the name of Khri-song-lde-btsan (Trisong Detsen), who probably enlarged and embellished the original buildings.[8][9]

The inscription on the bell read:

"This great bell was installed here to tell the increase of the life-time of the divine btsan-po Khri Lde-srong-brtsan. The donor Queen Byang-chub had it made to sound like the sound of the drum roll of the gods in the heavens and it was cast by the abbot, the Chinese monk Rin-cen as a religious offering from Tshal and to call all creatures to virtue."[10]

The main building is surrounded by several smaller shrines.


Each year in June, ritual dances are staged at Tradruk, known as Mêdog Qoiba (me tog mchod pa, “flower offering”).


  • Dorje, Gyurme. (1999). Footprint Tibet Handbook with Bhutan. 2nd Edition. Footprint Handbooks. Bath, England. ISBN 1 900949 33 4.
  • Dowman, Keith. The Power-places of Central Tibet: The Pilgrim's Guide. 1988. Routledge & kegan Paul, London. ISBN 0-7102-1370-0
  • Guntram Hazod, Per K. Sørensen, Gyalbo Tsering: Thundering Falcon. An Inquiry into the History and Cult of Khra-’brug, Tibet's First Buddhist Temple. (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften / Austrian Academy of Sciences 2005), ISBN 3700134959.
  • Richardson, Hugh Edward. (1985) A Corpus of Early Tibetan Inscriptions. Royal Asiatic Society. ISBN 0-904759600/4
  • Snellgrove, David and Richardson, Hugh. (1995). A Cultural History of Tibet. Shambhala. Boston & London. ISBN 1-57062-102-0. Originally published in 1968 by George Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd. This 1995 edition with new material.
  • ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho ངག་དབང་བློ་བཟང་རྒྱ་མཚོ།: bod kyi deb ther dpyid kyi rgyal mo’i glu dbyangs བོད་ཀྱི་དེབ་ཐེར་དཔྱིད་ཀྱི་རྒྱལ་མོའི་གླུ་དབྱངས།, chapter 6.
  • Vitali, Roberto. Early Temples of Central Tibet. 1990 Serindia Publications. London. ISBN 0-906026-25-3

External links


  1. Dorje (1999), p. 191.
  2. Guójiā cèhuìjú dìmíng yánjiūsuǒ 国家测绘局地名研究所: Xīzàng dìmíng 西藏地名 / bod ljongs sa ming བོད་ལྗོངས་ས་མིང།, Beijing, Zhōngguó Zàngxué chūbǎnshè 中国藏学出版社 1995, ISBN 7-80057-284-6, pp. 70f.
  3. Snellgrove & Richardson (1995), p. 74.
  4. Alex McKay: The History of Tibet (RoutledgeCourzon 2003), ISBN 0-700-71508-8, pp. 340 f.
    Guntram Hazod: The Royal Residence Pho brang byams pa mi ’gyur gling and the Story of Srong btsan sgam po’s Birth in Rgya ma. In: Henk Blezer (Hg.): Tibet, Past and Present (Brill 2002), ISBN 90-04-12775-5; pp. 41f.
    vgl. Michael Aris: Bhutan. The Early History of a Himalayan Kingdom (Warminister, Aris and Phillips 1979), ISBN 0856681997, pp. 3ff.
  5. Jeremy Atiyah, David Leffmann, Simon Lewis: China (Dumont 2004), ISBN 3-7701-6150-5, p. 1039.
  6. Dorje (1999), p. 192.
  7. Chinas Tibet: Zahlen und Fakten 2005 – Denkmalschutz (Beijing Rundschau / Beijing Review; in German)
  8. Snellgrove, David and Richardson, Hugh. (1995), p. 74.
  9. Richardson (1985), pp. 82-83
  10. Richardson (1985), p. 83

Template:Shannan Prefecture

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