Shugsheb nunnery Panorama

Shugsheb Nunnery (also spelled as Shugseb) complex is the largest in Tibet. In 2019, there are 165 nuns living in the nunnery. The complex is located about 65 km away from Lhasa in a beautiful and peaceful mountain bowl. It makes a great day tour outside of Lhasa away from the crowded tourist attractions. The monastery studies teachings of both Nyingma and Dzogchen schools of Buddhism. 

ABOUT SHUGSHEB NUNNERY

Meditation center in Shugsheb nunnery

The history of Shugsheb started from yogini Machik Labdron who meditated in the caves of the site. The first retreat was established here later, by Gyargom Tsultrim Senge, the founder of Shugsheb Kagyu sect of Buddhism. Starting from 14th century, Shugsheb was an important Nyingma center for nuns. Shugsheb Jetsunma, the female incarnation of Shugsheb is one of the highest reincarnate lamas in Tibet. 

The main building of Shugsheb was recently restored. There are 3 floors.  The Assembly hall is on the first floor. You can see statues of Guru Rinpoche, Avalokiteshvara and a wall painting of Samding Dorjee Phakmo.
On the second and third floors you can see different chapels, including the 21 Tara Chapel along with statues of various protectors, and a Thousand statues of Padma Sambhava chapel.

VISITING SHUGSHEB

Road up to Shugsheb
Road up to Shugsheb

We can reach Shugsheb nunery within 40 minutes of driving from Lhasa. Nowadays a new road leads straight to the complex. There is a parking lot by the nunnery complex.

Altitude at the nunnery level is about 4,430 meters. Upon arriving at the nunnery, you will be greeted by goats that graze on the hillside. 

If you wish to visit Gangri Tokar at the higher levels of the mountain, you can only hike up there. It takes about 1 hour to hike up to the small temple with the cave inside. The view on the valley below is wonderful. The walk up can be a great way to prepare for a trekking adventure in Tibet.

GANGRI TOKAR

View on higher levels of Shugsheb
View on higher levels of Shugsheb

Gangri Tokar or the White Skull Mountain is located above Shugsheb. The mountain’s shape is said to represent female deity Vajravarahi. It is a sacred mountain for Tibetans. Elevation reaches 5,336 meters at the highest point of the mountain ridge. 

An hermitage of great significance is the cave Orgyen Dzong. Longchenpa, an important Dzogchen Lama meditated there in 14th century. At the same time he wrote about his religious practice system. 
Recently a new temple was built around the cave. Inside you can see an image of Longchenpa and three Dzogchen protectors.

Valley below Shugsheb nunnery
Valley below Shugsheb nunnery

Three large rocks surround the Orgyen Dzong cave. To both sides of them are two springs, representing breasts of Vajravarahi. 

Outside of the hermitage were two juniper trees, nowadays you can only see their stumps. These trees are believed to be home to Tantric protector deities. 
Some yogini live and meditate in caves on the mountain.

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