Tangyud Monastery is built like a fortified castle on the edge of a deep canyon, with massive slanted mud walls and battlements with vertical red ochre and white vertical stripes which make them look much taller than they really are. Tangyud Monastery has an altitude of 4,587 metres (15,049 ft), on the edge of a deep canyon and overlooking the town of Kaza in the Spiti District, which is 4 km from the town. Tangyud Monastery is located on the periphery of the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary.
Tangyud Monastery is one of only two monasteries belonging to the Sakya sect left in Spiti - the other, at Kaza itself, is small and relatively insignificant. It reportedly had 60 monks in 1855. Although it is considered by locals to be very ancient, an examination of the present fortified structure modelled on a Chinese castle, and other circumstantial evidence, makes it likely that it was built early in the 14th century when the Sakyapas rose to power under Mongol patronage in the medieval era.
History of the Tangyud Monastery
According to history, there was an earlier Kadampa establishment here founded by Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055 CE) and named Rador-lha. The name, Tangyud, may refer to the Sakya revision of the Tang-r Gyud, or the 87 volumes of Tantra treatises which form part of the Tengyur. This was carried out about 1310 CE by a team of scholars under the Sakya lama, Ch'os-Kyi-O'd-zer.
Architecture of the Tangyud Monastery
The Tangyud Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries of the area and it is built as a fortified castle which has slanted and massive walls that have been fixed with the battlements of ochre and big rods. Given the fortification of the walls with the vertical stripes, these walls appear to be larger than life and taller than they actually are.
Attractions of the Tangyud Monastery
This is a popular destination for practicing Buddhism. Surrounded by the charming views of nature and the newer building which greets visitors today stands where the former monastery which is known as Tenggyud Lhundrup Choekhor Ling existed for 35 years.
Connectivity of the Tangyud Monastery
Tangyud monastery is situated 14 km away from Kaza and is easily approachable by road, rail and air transportation. Kaza is around 250 km away from the nearest airport located in Bhuntar near Kullu which is well connected to the other cities of the country and especially northern India via Chandigarh airport and another airport is in Shimla.
Road connectivity is quite good from Kullu, Manali and Shimla. The Kaza town is around 58 km from Losar, 200 km from Manali while 762 km from the capital of the country, new Delhi. The monastery can be reached by buses, taxis or jeeps from Shimla or Manali.
The nearest railway station is Kalka which is well connected by rail with all the major cities of the country. Jogindernagar is another railway station which is near to Lahaul & Spiti. Apart from these Chandigarh and Shimla are the railways stations that one can approach to reach Tangyud Monastery.