(Last Updated on : 30-04-2013)
Buddhist monasteries in Himachal Pradesh
are popular through out the nation as they are considered to be sacred pilgrimage sites. The belief in Buddhism
is depicted through the various Monasteries and Gompas in Himachal Pradesh. The holy Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, resides in Dharamsala
in Himachal Pradesh, along with the several other followers of Buddhism, who are scattered through out the state. As Himachal Pradesh is strongly influenced by Buddhism, there are many renowned Buddhist monasteries present here, such as Tabo Monastery
, Key Monastery, Dhankar Monastery
, Shashur Monastery
, Gemur Monastery, Kungri Gompa
, Tayul Monastery
, Gandhola Monastery, Tangyud Monastery and others.
The Buddhist monasteries in Himachal Pradesh have been discussed below-
Tabo Monastery, also known as Tabo Chos-Khor Monastery is located in the Spiti Valley
, at an altitude of 3050 m, in Himachal Pradesh. It was founded in 996 CE by the great scholar and king of Guge, Rinchen Zangpo. It was built as an institution for advanced learning. Currently, Tabo monastery provides residence 60 lamas. The gompa also contains several scriptures, art and wall paintings, known as Thankas. The old segment consists of 9 temples, 23 chortens, a monk's chamber and a nun's chamber. Tabo has been declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is regarded as the Ajanta
of the Himalaya.
Tayul Gompa is located in the Bhaga Valley of Lahul and Spiti, in Himachal Pradesh. It was established during 17th century by a Dugpa lama, Serzang Rinchen of the Khan region of Tibet. Tayul Monastery, in Satingri village, contains a 5 m long figure of Padamsambhava, including his 2 incarnations of Vajravarashi and Singhmukha. The in-house library has 101 volumes of Kangyur and Thankhas illustrating the life of Lord Buddha
. This monastery also contains a hundred million Mani wheel.
Key Gompa is situated located at an altitude of 4,166 m, near the Spiti River, in the Lahaul and Spiti districts. It is a religious training centre of Lamas, as well as the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley. The architecture of the Kye gompa boasts the Pasada style and is built in the manner of a fort.
The Buddhist temple of Shashur was constructed in 17th century by Deva
Gyatso in Lahaul. The main structure contains a 3 storied building, placed atop a hill. Shashur Monastery is related with the Red Hat sect or Gelukpa order of Tibetan Buddhism. The sacred mantra of "Om Mani Padme Hum" is inscribed on the walls and the Monastery contains a 15 feet thangka, a statue of Namgyal
and fine wall paintings of 84 Siddhas of Buddhism.
Gemur Monastery is a 700 years old Buddhist temple in Himachal Pradesh, located above the Gemur village in Kullu
district. The gompa has a figure of Marichi Vajravarahi goddess, from the 11th century AD. The devil dance of the lamas is conducted in July, which attracts several tourists. There are also several wall paintings, Buddhist miniature paintings, statues, Buddhist artifacts and stupas.
Dhankar Gompa, also known as Drangkhar, Grang-mkhar or Brang-mkhar, is a Buddhist temple, situated in Lahaul and Spiti district
, at an elevation of 3,894 m. it is nestled on the Himalayas, between Tabo and Kaza. There is an old fort on the top of a hill that used to be a prison in the ancient period. The Monastery houses almost 100 Lamas and contains Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti language
. The statue of Vairochana (Dhayan Buddha), with 4 figures seated back to back, is the prime figure of the gompa.
Kungri Buddhist temple, built around 1330 AD, is situated in Pin valley and belongs to the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The gompa is most popular for the sword dance of the monstrous Buzhens.
Gandhola Gompa, also known as Kundlah and Guru Ghantal Monastery
, is located in at the confluence of Chandra and Bhaga rivers, in Tupchiling village in Lahaul, Himachel Pradesh. A marble head sculpture of the Avalokiteshwara is found here, which dates back to the 8th century AD. It has been sanctified by Guru Padamshambhava.
Tangyud Monastery or Sa-skya-gong-mig Gompa is a Buddhist temple in Spiti, constructed in the manner of a fortress. The Monastery is located at an altitude of 4,587 m and on the edge of the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary.
The other Buddhist monasteries in Himachal Pradesh are Kibber Gompa, Gozzangwa Monastery
, Lhalung Monastery, Thang Yug Gompa Monastery
, Kanum Monastery, Bon Monastery
, Namgyal Monastery
, Brelengi Gompa Monastery, Kardang Monastery
and Yang-Yud Gompa.