Himachal Pradesh, known as the Abode of the Gods, has many century old monasteries and temples. Characterized by the beauty of the valleys, the Lahaul and Spiti district is home to a number of Buddhist monasteries in Himachal Pradesh. This trans-Himalayan district is a popular destination for Buddhist pilgrims, scholars and tourists. The splendid gompas or minasteries have introduced a unique Buddhist culture here.
Dharamshala, Kinnaur and Kangra Valley are other places of Buddhist stronghold. The ancient monasteries here are a repository of Buddhist art, literature and culture. The brilliant frescoes on the walls, tapestries and painted murals are unique and worth checking out. Over the years, the Buddhist monasteries have gained prominence as training centers for lamas.
Popular monasteries in Himachal Pradesh
Have a look at the top monasteries in this charming state:
Location - 17 km from the main Kaza town in Lahaul and Spiti district
Facts - Key Monastery is the largest and oldest monastery in Lahaul and Spiti. It is a repository of rare Buddhist relics and literature. It is also home to around 300 lamas. The Thangka paintings here are of great interest to tourists.
Location - 47 km from Kaza town
Facts - This UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in the 10th century, houses 60 lamas. Check out the exquisite paintings, statues, nine temples and the monk's chamber.
Guru Ghantal Monastery
Location - On the banks of River Chandra in the Lahaul and Spiti Valley
Facts - The most interesting feature of this 800 year old gompa is the idols made of wood instead of clay. You can also look at the black stone image of the Hindu Goddess Kali in the interior chambers of the gompa. This monastery is also famous as the Trilokinath Temple.
Location - 25 km from Kaza and 210 km from the hill station of Manali Facts - This fascinating gompa is home to around 150 monks. The Dhayan Buddha statue and the museum with Buddhist relics are the main attractions.
Location - Dharamshala
Facts - Namgyal monastery is open only to the Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, monks, and students. All rituals from the major schools for Tibetan Buddhism are practiced here.
Location - Situated in Kardang village in Lahaul Valley
Facts - Kardang Gompa, which was renovated in 1912, has colorful wall frescoes and murals among its main attractions. The library here has the largest volumes of Kangyur and Tangyour texts.