Buddhist traditions are recognized in the distant valleys of Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur. These very beautiful Buddhist monasteries have been built in the mountains here, which look very attractive.
It represents a rich heritage of art and literature of Buddhism. There are very beautiful ancient artifacts inside them which have been made in bright colours.
These artifacts are decorated in very attractive structures, on the sides of which beautiful edges have been made with silk thread.
Dharamsala, where His Highness the Dalai Lama is living in exile, has become a wonderful Tibetan city, where Tibetan culture is flourishing. It is the main centre that attracts researchers and religious tourists.
Tso Pema Monastry
Rewalsar is probably the most religious place of Buddhists. This place is 20 KM from Mandi. It is located in the far northwest.
According to a legend, Guru Padmasambhava went to Tibet in order to start spreading Buddhism from here.
There is a very beautiful pagoda style monastery on the banks of the lake. There are four monasteries situated on each corner of the lake, which are popular Gompas.
The first monastery established in Rewalsar was Nyingma Gompa, which is located right at the lakefront. Drikung Kagya Monastery, Zigar Drukpa Kagyud Monastery, and Zangdok Palri Palace Monastery are the other three renowned Gompas of the region.
Guru Ghantal Math
This monastery is situated on the right bank of river Chandra-bhaga at a distance of 4 kms, which is the oldest wooden gompa of Lahaul-Spiti. The roofs of gompa are made of shikhara style, with beautiful wood carvings.
The Statues of Guru Padmasambhava and Brijeshwari Devi are placed here. On the full moon night in mid-June, a festival is celebrated jointly by Buddhists and Thakurs called “Ghantal”.
This monastery is located at a distance 5 km from Keylong crossing the Bhaga River. There is a belief that this monastery was built in the 12th century.
This monastery has a very large library where books belonging to Buddhist literature in Kangyur and Tangyur script are written in Bhoti script. also Once the capital of Lahaul-Spiti was Kardang village.
It is situated on a hill at a distance of 3 km towards North from Keylong. In the month of June-July, this monastery becomes the centre of attraction, where thousands of visitors come to see the demon dance.
It was established in the 17th century. The artifacts installed here depict the history of 84 Buddhists.
Situated at 6 KM from Keylong the Tayul Gompa is one of the oldest monasteries in the valley. This place is famous for about 5m tall Guru Padmasambhava’s high statue and Kyungar library which is located here.
Tayul means “chosen site” in Tibetan language. There is also an interesting story behind this.
This place is 12 km from Kaza situated in the north Spiti is dedicated to the people of west valley. This monastery is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in the valley and is situated above the village.
There are books related to Buddhism and artifacts of Lord Buddha and other goddesses. Lamas practice dance, music and play instruments here.
The lamas are given religious training here. There is also a collection of books and masks related to moral ideals.
This Gompa is about 10 km from Attargaon. One has to cross the Spiti river to reach this gompa located in the distant Pin valley. This gompa is dedicated to the people of Pin Valley.
This monastery is in Kaza. It is situated in the east and is dedicated to the eastern part of central Spiti. Dhankhar, which is a large village, was the capital of the erstwhile Spiti state.
There is a fort on the top of the hill where there used to be a prison in olden times. About 100 lamas live in this monastery and here Buddhist literature of Bhoti language is preserved.
The main attraction here is the statue of “Bairochan” which has four figures of Lord Buddha which are attached back to back. There are also some relics in the form of artefacts and paintings.
This is another very famous and large monastery dedicated to the eastern population. It was built in the 10th century and is located at a distance 50 km from Kaza.
Its fame comes on second number after Tholing Gompa in Tibet. There are 60 Buddhist monks living here. There is a large collection of Buddhist literature which bears a resemblance to the Ajanta paintings.
The famous footprints of Guru Padmasambhava are stored in the Lotsabad Math. Situated at a high altitude in Kinnaur district, this village is situated near the transparent lake.
The monastery was found in the 11th century by a renowned ancient translator Lochen Rinchen Zangpo. It is divided into four halls or chapels. The gate of the monastery is engraved with detailed patterns.
Also Read :-
- Famous Temples of Himachal Pradesh – Part one
- Famous Temples of Himachal Pradesh – Part Two
- Amazing waterfalls in Himachal Pradesh