Drepung Monastery is one of the "great three" Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet. The other two are Ganden and Sera. Drepung, which means rice heap in Tibetan language, is located on the Gambo Utse Mountain, 5 kilometers from the western suburb of Lhasa. The monastery covers more than 200 thousand square meters, once the largest monastery in the world.
It was founded in 1416 by Jamyang Chojey, a leading disciple of Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelukpa School. It was an immediate success and a year after opening there were already two thousand monks in residence and ten thousand by the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-82). The ground of the monastery is organized on the caves and temples for Jamyang Qoigyi, together with two magnificent white pagodas. The buildings of the monastery are centered on these pagodas, The major buildings are Ganden Potrang, Coqen Hall, the four Zhacangs (or Tantric colleges), and Kamcuns.
The Ganden Potrang, in the southwest corner of the monastery, was served as the meeting place for the local regime for both politics and religion when the second, third, fourth, and the fifth Dalai Lamas lives there. The Coqen Hall is located in the center of the monastery. In front of it, there is a square occupying an area of about 1,850 square meters. The monastery is composed of Four Zhacangs, functioning as the sutra-learning places and the subordinate organization.