Kumbum Monastery (or Ta’er) together with Ganden, Drepung, Sera, Tashilhunpo and Labrang are known as the six great monasteries of the Gelukpa sect. Kumbum Monastery is the place where the founder of the Gelukpa sect, Guru Tsongkhapa, was born. Guru Tsongkhapa was the supreme spiritual leader of the Gelukpa and the first Ganden Tripa. His two distinguished disciples are Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama, who were two of the main leaders of the Yellow Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
Kumbum monastery is large in size. During its prime time, there were more than 800 worshiping halls covering around 165 acres. The buildings of the monastery take up two hillsides along a channel on Lotus Mt. The temples are spread out on the uneven hills. Their architectural magnificence constitutes a spectacular sight. In history, the 4th, 5th, 7th and 13th Dalai Lamas as well as the 6th, 9th and 10th Panchen Lamas all lived at Kumbum Monastery. It once accommodated more than 70 Rinpoches and 3600 monastics. Many of its Rinpoches and eminent monastics were conferred by the government of Qing Dynasty the titles of Khutukhtu, Governing Lamas at Yonghe Palace in Beijing and Wutai Mountain in Shanxi province.
Kumbum Monastery has four colleges, which are the exoteric, esoteric (tantric), Kalachakra and medical colleges, respectively. Many of their graduates have become eminent masters.