Sakya (ས་སྐྱ་) is a small town 25kms off of the Friendship Highway and about 155kms southwest of Shigatse. The town, which sits at 4300m/14,105 feet, is famous for the great monastery of Sakya. Like Riwoche Tsuglhakhang in east Tibet, Sakya Monastery has a very unique architecture to it that is not found in other areas of Tibet. The walls surrounding the monastery are 16m high and are 3.5m thick. The structure looks more like a fortress than a Buddhist monastery. Sakya Monastery is the seat for the Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The northern monastery, which is mostly ruins now, was founded in 1073 while the southern monastery was founded in 1268. Like all Sakyapa sect monasteries, it is painted grey, red and white. Of all the monasteries to see in Tibet, Sakya Monasery is one you shouldn't miss.
On the mountains behind the monastery, old ruins from the original monastery can be found. These ruins are great to hike through and you can get a great view of the town and of the monastery. Like most monasteries in Tibet, there is a pilgrim path (kora) going around the monastery along the side of the mountain. The entrance fee to the monastery is Y45. Most people who go to Sakya just spend the day there before driving to Lhatse for the night, though it is possible to stay the night in Sakya as well.
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