One of the six great Gelugpa institutions, this monastery is the seat of the Panchen Lama and one of the few religious sites in Tibet not destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. The Chapel of Maitreya houses an 85-foot-high statue of the Future Buddha—the largest in the world—covered with 600 pounds of gold. More than 1,000 more images are painted on the surrounding walls. You will also be able to visit the Panchen Lama tombs, many of which are lined with photos and sculptures of their later reincarnations. The beautiful stupa of the 10th Panchen Lama, built in 1990 after his death in 1989, is topped with a remarkable likeness of his unmistakable fat, jocular face done in pure gold. As this is the largest functioning monastery in Tibet, the police presence can be a bit heavy at times, especially since the 2008 riots. Refrain from discussing politics or the Dalai Lama. Camera fees are Y75 per temple. Don't try to take unauthorized photos, as monks here have been known to manhandle those unwilling to pay for a snapshot.
7 Jijilangka Rd., Xigaze, Tibet, 857000, China