About 4 km north of Lhasa, the monastery was built in 1419 by Sakya Yeshe, a disciple of Tsongkhapa. It is magnificent and covers an area of 114,946 square meters. And it is named after the wild rose flowers grown on the slope of mountains nearby. When the monastery was built, the hill behind it was covered with wild roses in bloom.
Sera Mey Dratsang, built in 1419, which gave basic instruction to the monks. Sera Jey Dratsang, built in 1435, was the largest, and was reserved for wandering monks, especially Mongol monks. Ngagpa Dratsang, built in 1559, was a school for the teaching of the Gelukpa tantras.
About 600 monks are now in residence, well down from an original population of 5000. One of the most interesting times to visit the monastery is in the afternoon when monks, after finishing their morning scripture classes, can be seen debating in the courtyard. All pilgrims proceed on a clockwise circuit visiting the three main colleges: Sera Me, Sera Ngag-pa and Sera Je. Sera's collection of murals is maintained in perfect, original condition. Its statues of Maitreya, Bodhisattvas, and Arhats are very noteworthy. Scriptures written in gold powder, scroll paintings, a tapestry portrait of Jamchen Chojey, and thangkas can be seen throughout Sera.