Tashilunpo Monastery was founded in 1447 and is the largest Yellow Hat sect monastery in Tibet. Shigaste is Tibetís 2nd most important city and Tashilunpo was the seat of the Panchen Lamas. Tashilunpo contains chortens, temples and the Panchen Lamaís palace. At its peak, Tashilunpo had more than 4,000 monks in its 4 monasteries. Upon the death of a Panchen Lama, it was the 4 abbots of these monasteries that would lead the search for his infant reincarnation.
The monastery is a striking red, white and black Tibetan structure with a golden roof. Within the monastery there is a 5 story temple, which contains a 26 meters (86ft) sitting statue of the Maitreya Buddha. The statue was cast from 6,700 ounces of gold and over 115,000 kg of copper, making it the biggest copper Buddhist statue in the world.
The massive Thangka wall at Tashilunpo can be clearly seen from most points in Shigaste. The wall is used for displaying enormous Thangkas - religious painted banners - for only a few festival days each year.