Nechung Monastery is located on the slope below the Drepung Monastery. As you enter the check post at the main gate Nechung Monastery is located on the left-hand side on your way up. Only the red building is visible from the main road.
Nechung Monastery of a seat of State Oracle of old local Tibetan Government before the peaceful liberation. It’s great functionality during those time. The oracle was consulted for the important decision and seek protection of the state. Nechung is not only the deity of state but it is also the medium of the communication between the human realm and the realm of higher beings. The Monk is trained in the secret rituals that accompanied the trance of the Oracle. The monk in whom the spirit will possess is not the oracle as describe in many books and website. It is the host and it is called Kuten in Tibetan, which means dependent body. The monk how’s body will be possessed by the oracle is chosen at a very young age and the healthiest and the cleanest novice will be chosen to be the next host when he grows up. Medium monk is not the reincarnated but chosen. There are some rituals to make that monk a medium of Oracle.
Origin of Nechung Monastery
The origin of Nechung is related to Guru Padmasambhava. When Guru Padmasambhava founded The Samye monastery with his Vajrakilaya Dance, he tamed the god of local Bon religion called Pehar Gyalpo and bound it in the oath to become the Protector of Buddhism and Tibetan. The spirit is later known as Dorje Drakden. It’s later become the protector of many ruling reigns of Tibet, including Dalai Lamas.
Initially, the seat of the Oracle was in Samye monastery, it was later moved to Tsal-Gungthang at the eastern Lhasa and Later moved to the current location by fifth Dalai Lama. Ever since the seat of the oracle was not moved anywhere.
Tourist guides to Nechung monastery
As you go inside the main courtyard you will see a very big courtyard. As you enter the main Temple there is a chapel on your left-hand side, this is the main chapel of the Nechung Oracle. On the altar there is a piece of wood, which was a tree originally, around which the monastery was build. The tree is the Life-Spirit-Lake of the Pehar. And as you walk you can ask the monks to give you some bless grains. It is believed that those bless grains has a capability of protecting you in your journey and when you are nervous it helps you to be the clam. I have my own experience and reason to believe in it. Whenever I go with the group I do bring it with myself.
There is another Temple on the eastern side of the Nechung monastery main courtyard. And there are some small villas behind the main structures. I would suggest you to bring something to drink and eat and spent some nice summer time in the villas garden. One of the Villa belongs to 13th Dalai Lama. The nice architecture with lush green in this high altitude is worth spending sometimes in it. My suggestion is to make the most out of what Tibet has to offer you. Take time in traveling.