Kye Monastery, Himachal Pradesh
The monasteries of Himachal Pradesh are highly significant and revered by the people of all religion. These monasteries do not just preserve the rich Buddhist culture in the state, but also make for an attractive tourists destination. Quiet a few of these monasteries have gained fame on international level, while many others are popular just locally.
Famous Monasteries Of Himachal Pradesh
The monastery is located around 25 km from Kaza in the Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh. An image of "Vairocana" or Dhayan Buddha consisting of 4 complete figures seated back to back is the highlight of this monastery. The monastery has Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti language as well as relics in the shape of paintings and sculptures as its belongings. Two Gompas are housed in this monastery - Lha Opa Gompa & Lkhang Gompa. The former is supposed to date back to 12th century. The second gompa is more prominent with its splendid mural that represent the life of Buddha
Guru Ghantal Monastery
Around 800 years ago at a place where Chandra and Bagha river met, a
monastery was established by Padmasambhava. The monastery was located
atop a hill above the Tupchiling village and came to be known as the
Guru Ghantal Monastery.
The highlight of this monastery is that unlike the other monasteries of the state, the idols here are made up of wood and not clay. Within the monastery there are idols of Padmasambhava and Brajeshwari Devi along with numerous other lamas. Moreover, there is also an image of Kali in blackstone inside the monastery which gives strength to the belief that the monastery was once a temple.
In earlier times a festival by the name of ghantal was celebrated in this monastery wherein the visiting lamas and thakur feasted for a day. The festival is not celebrated any more today. Also, the monastery is not in a very good state of maintenance. There are seepages inside and the paintings have lost their colours. However, one thing is for certain, and that is the workmanship of the gompa, which is definitely much better than many other monasteries of the state. The monastery is also known as the Trilokinath.
This one is located in Dharamshala and is also known by the name of Namgyal Dratsang. Its history states that it was founded by the third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso in the year 1575. The monastery was established with an intention to help the Dalai Lama carry on his public religious activities as well as perform prayers for the betterment of Tibet. Within the monastery premises, there is a monastery, an institute and few temples. The monastery is not open for public, and only His Holiness, the Dalai Lama and his students can gain entry into it. The institute admits students for thirteen years of training in Tantra and Sutra. The admission is difficult, however, once in, the students get to gain knowledge from the renowned spiritual teachers of Tibet as well as the Dalai lama himself. The monastery is presently home to more than 180 monks.
Located around 20 km south west of Mandi is a pagoda style monastery of Rewalsar. Rewalsar is considered extremely important place for Buddhists since it is from here that Padamasambhava set out to spread his religion in the land of Tibet. This dharma which he spread came to be known as Lamaism. The monastery stands on the edge of the Rewalsar lake and the island in the lake is supposed to be inhabited by the spirit of Padmasambhava. Inside the monastery, murals in mixed Indo Chinese style are attention grabbers.
The Kanum monastery is located in the Kanum in the Kinnaur area of Himachal Pradesh. The village of Kanum, in the erstwhile era, was a place rich in scriptural learning. It was during this period (in the 11 th century) that 'Rin-Chen-Bzang-Po' founded a school of scholastic learning here.
This monastery is located at an altitude of around 15000 feet in the
village of Kardang. Kardang is the erstwhile capital of Lahaul and the
monastery here is one of the biggest and the oldest one. It was
constructed around 900 AD.
The possessions of the monastery includes beautiful thangka paintings, musical instruments and old weapons. There is also a library of Kangyur and Tangyur volumes of Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti language. Infact the collection here is considered to be the largest one. The lamas of this monastery are allowed to marry. During summers they put up with their family and work in fields while in winters they return to the monastery. The monastery is extremely important for the Durga - Pa sect.
In 17 th century AD, Lama Deva Tyatsho of Zanskar founded the Shashur Monastery, a little distance away from Keylong. Lama Deva Tyatsho was a missionary of the King of Bhutan. The present structure of the monastery is because of renovation work carried out by Deva Gyatsho. The attractions of the monastery, which belongs to the Red sect of the Tibetan Buddhist, are the 15-feet 'Thankha' and precious wall paintings presenting all the siddhas of Buddhism. Another highlight of the monastery is the devil dance performed by the lamas during the Chham celebration in the month of June - July.
Established by Dogpa Lama, Serzang Richen of Kham region of Tibet, in the 17th century AD, the Tayul Monastery is located around 6 km from Keylong in the Bhaga valley. The highlight of the monastery is the 12 feet tall statue of Padmasambhava. Apart from this, there is a hundred million Mani wheels which is believed to turn by itself on extremely sacred events. The last time when the wheel turned on its own was in the year 1886. There is also a library in the monastery which houses 'Kangyur' and 'Thankas' reflecting the life of Lord Buddha.
Thang Yug Gompa
This monastery is located around 13 km from Kaza in the Spiti Valley. The lama here usually belongs to Tibet.
Kungri Gompa, Lippa, Nechung Monastery, Pooh, Tashijong Monastery, Tilasangh Monastery.