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Here is some of what the souvenir ticket says from the unguided tour. Sera monastery was founded by Jamchen Choje Shakya Yeshe in 1419. It consists of an assembly hall, 3 colleges and about 33 houses. It is one of the 3 major monasteries of the Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect of Buddhism in central Tibet. It used to house many thousands of monks and now only a few thousand live there. If you go at the right time, you will see the monks "debating" in the courtyard...

To "debate" newer students are questioned by the older ones. Wrong answers will fill the courtyard with a constant sound of the student-teacher slapping his hands together to correct the student. The huge building with the blank white wall is for hanging VERY large Buddhist "tanka" paintings.