Jé College (grwa tshang byes) as an institution was founded by Künkhyen Lodrö Rinchen Senggé (kun mkhyen blo gros rin chen seng ge, fifteenth century), a direct disciple of Tsongkhapa (tsong kha pa). By the time Künkhyenpa (kun mkhyen pa) arrived at Sera (se ra), two colleges – Gya (rgya) and Dromteng (brom stengs) – had already merged into a third college, Tö (stod). After his arrival, Tö merged into Jé College (lit. “Traveler’s” or “Visitor’s” College, because Künkhyenpa arrived at Sera with one hundred of his followers as travelers or visitors from Drepung [’bras spungs] Monastery). Oral tradition has it that one of the small storerooms to the west of the assembly hall was the original residence of Künkhyenpa and his disciples when they first arrived at Sera.
It was not until two centuries later that this large temple, the Jé College Assembly Hall, was built by the ruler Polhané Miwang Sönam Topgyel (pho lha nas mi dbang bsod nams stobs rgyal, 1689-1747). Tradition has it that he and his son, Gyurmé Namgyel (’gyur med rnam rgyal, fl. eighteenth century) competed with each other for the privilege of building the college assembly hall. The father won, and his son was reduced to having to sponsor the building of another important (though lesser) structure at Sera, the Hamdong Regional House (har gdong khang tshan).
The most famous site within the Jé Assembly Hall is undoubtedly the Hayagrīva Chapel (rta mgrin khang), where the Jé College tutelary deity (yi dam) resides in a golden altar. This is extremely popular with pilgrims.
Adjacent to the Jé College Assembly Hall are a number of buildings and rooms – kitchens, and storage rooms – that belong to it.