Monasteries in Spiti: The Beauty of Faith in Spiti Valley

13-May-2019 Divyanshi Dhouni0

Spiti is a land of great surprises. It has splendid beauty, calmness, spirituality and adventure. Due to its closeness with Tibet, this place has a strong influence of Buddhism on its culture. There are various monasteries, temples, lakes which depicting the historical relations.

This land has been blessed by various Gurus of Buddhism which resulted in the foundation of many ancient monasteries in the region. These monasteries have great importance in Buddhism and are famous places of travellers visiting this beautiful valley.

Here we are going to share with you list of all monasteries in Spiti.

Top 8 Best Monasteries in Spiti

1. Key Monastery

This charismatic monastery was founded by Dromton back in the 11th century. However, during the 17th century, it was attacked by the Mongols, when it was under the reign of the Fifth Dalai Lama. In 1820, it was again targeted during the disastrous wars between Kulu and Ladakh. But these aren’t the only challenging things that the monastery has seen!

In the year 1841 when the Dogra army attacked it under Rahim and Ghulam Khan, it was severely destroyed!

key monastery

The same year, the monastery suffered, even more, when a Sikh army targeted it. The complete period of the 1840s was hellacious for the monastery that it caught fire and in the year 1975, an earthquake destroyed it leaving it buggered!

Later, the State Public Works Department and Archaeological Survey of India helped in the renovation and the monastery was totally repaired so that the monks could stay there and continue with their peaceful lives!

2. Lhalung Monastery

Lhalung means ‘land of the gods’. It is believed that Lhalung devta is the head of all the god residing in this valley. This monastery is one of the earliest monastery found in the Spiti valley.

lhalung monastery
Image Source- tripoto.com

It was founded by the great Tibetan Buddhist Rinchen Zangpo, who was the king of western Himalayan Kingdom during the 10th century.

3. Dhankar Monastery

Dhankar monastery or Dhankar Gompa is a Buddhist monastery in Spiti. Situated at an elevation of 3, 894 metres, it is located above the Dhankar village between the towns of Kaza and Tabo. It is one of the most attractive and curious landmarks of Spiti.

dhankar monastery

Dhang or Dang means cliff, and Kar or Khar means fort. Hence Dhangkar means fort on a cliff. Dhankar was the capital of Spiti in the 17th century. There is also Dhankar lake which is at a distance of 2 km from the Gompa which is a small and lesser known place but a giant in beauty.

4. Tabo Monastery

Tabo is a small town in the Lahaul and Spiti district on the banks of the Spiti River in Himachal Pradesh where Tabo Monastery is located. It lies on the road between Rekong Peo and Kaza. This monastery, according to legend, is said to be over a thousand years old!

tabo monastery

The Dalai Lama has expressed his desire to retire to Tabo since he believes that the Tabo Monastery is one of the holiest. Tabo Monastery was founded by the Buddhist king Yeshe O’d in 996 A.D.

In 1996, the Dalai Lama conducted the Kalachakra initiation ceremony in Tabo, which coincided with the millennium anniversary celebrations of the Tabo monastery. The ceremony was attended by thousands of Buddhists from across the world. Tabo Monastery’s spiritual head is Tsenshap Serkong Rinpoche!

A small government run dispensary presently serves Tabo with two doctors who rotate their services and a small pharmacy. The nearest hospital facility is in Kaza, some 2 hours away. The Serkong School, only school here was established by Tabo Monastery on 29 May 1999 (Serkong Tsenshap Rinpoche’s 15th birthday). On that day each year, the students and teachers celebrate both the school’s anniversary and Rinpoche’s birthday.

5. Tangyud Monastery

Tangyud Gompa is one of the highest Gompas of India situated at an altitude of 4,520 metres near Comic village in Spiti. This gompa was built in the early 14th century and belongs to Saktapasect which is of great historic importance. It is located on the periphery of Kibber wildlife Sanctuary overlooking the town of Kaza.

tangyud monastery

The lamas of this gompa are supposed to be very proficient in Tantra. The gompa was earlier near the Hikkim village which was shifted here in 1975 after the earthquake. Some residues of the monastery are still here in Hikkim.

6. Kungri Monastery

Kungri Monastery is the second oldest monastery in Spiti built around 1330. It is situated in the Pin Valley. This valley has three detached rectangular buildings or block facing the east direction. The monastery is famous for its sword dance which is performed by Buzhen of Mud Village on the right bank of Pin river.

kungri monastery

7. Tayul Monasteries

Tayul Gompa also called Tayul Monastery is a located in the Bhaga Valley of Lahaul and Spiti at an altitude of 3,900 m. It is located at a distance of 6 km from Keylong above the village of Satingri. It is considered the oldest monastery of the northern region.  Tayul in Buddhist language means ‘chosen’ and this place was found and chosen by Lama Sherzang Richen of Khan region of Tibet.

tayul monastery
Image Source- Himtimes

The Monastery has a 12 ft statue of Padmasambhava and his two manifestations Sighmukha and Vijravarashi. It also has 108  prayer wheels with the prayer written on it. Not only this, the monastery has a library consisting of many important Buddhist scriptures.

8. Shashur Monastery

Shashur Monastery is situated in the Drugpa sector in Lahaul and Spiti. It is named as Shashur as it is covered by tall blue pine trees. This monastery was founded by Lama Deva Gyatso in the 17th century who was a missionary of Nawang Namgyal, the king of Bhutan.

shashur monastery

There are Thangka painting which decorated in the Monastery and are about 15 ft tall. It also has a wall painting depicting 84 Siddhas of Buddhism. There is an Annual festival in the month of June and July. It is called as Chham during which the colours of the monastery are at its best.

Conclusion

These were some of the monasteries in Spiti which would fill your trip not only excitement with Peace and Spirituality. Do visit some of these when you plan a trip to Spiti. You can also check out our article about, best places to visit in Spiti to get more ideas about top attraction in this location. Without visiting these monasteries, your trip and knowledge of this place will remain incomplete.

Divyanshi Dhouni

Author: Divyanshi Dhouni

I am Divyanshi Dhouni. An avid reader, a keen observer and a versatile personality. In love with words, hills and food. Still learning to write! I believe that optimism and self-belief lead to achievement in life!

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