The remote valley of Lahaul and Spiti has a strong culture of Buddhism. The splendid monasteries here are among the top tourist attractions of Himachal Pradesh. They are also prominent learning centers that attract scholars, pilgrims and Tibetans from India and across the world. Shashur Monastery is one such revered gompa in this region. Located around 2 km from Keylong, it can also be accessed from Manali, which lies at a distance of 37km. For an enriching experience of the Shashur Monastery, you can opt for the Himachal Pradesh tour packages on Indian Holiday.
Archeitecture of the Shashur Monastery
Shashur in Tibetan means blue pines. The name couldn't be more apt since this 17th century gompa in the Lahaul and Spiti Valley is surrounded by blue pine trees. Lama Deva Tyatsho, a missionary of the king of Bhutan, built this monastery. Later, Lama Dewa Gyatsho conducted the renovation work on the monastery, giving it its present look. The monastery belongs to the Red Hat Sect or the Gelukpa order of Tibetan Buddhists. The climb up is a little difficult due to the rough terrain. However, as you make your way up, the beautiful mani wall (piles of prayer stones) are sure to impress you. This wall has the sacred mantra of the Buddhists inscribed on it.
Not only domestic tourists, but also foreign visitors praise the brilliant architecture of the Shashur Monastery. The three storeyed structure stands atop a hill and conforms to the mandala concept. The dim chambers house priceless Thangka paintings and have beautiful wall murals. The most important mural depicts the 84 Buddhist siddhas. Besides the exquisite paintings, the statue of Namgyal is of great interest to tourists.
The annual festival of Chham held in the months of June-July brings in crowds of tourists. They gather to see the lamas and monks perform the famous devil dance.
How to reach Shashur Monastery
Keylong lies on the Manali-Leh highway that remains accessible from June to November. Many pilgrims walk up to this monastery after reaching Keylong. There are regular buses plying from Manali to Keylong. Bhuntar in Kullu is the nearest airport.
Around Shashur Monastery
There are other monasteries close to Shashur Gompa that are worth visiting during your India travel:
The Guru Ghantal Monastery - This 8th century monastery is perched on a hill above the Tandi village. The statue and images of Guru Padmasambhava and Brajeswari Devi are among the prime attractions.
The Kardang Monastery - This monastery in the Lahaul Valley has a huge collection of sacred Kangyur and Tangyur texts in its library. It is also a storehouse of several Buddhist scriptures written in the Bhoti script.