Take a break from your hectic schedule as we take you through a journey of the 12 most beautiful monasteries in India. Filled with adventurous treks, scenic views and the most stunning of architecture, these monasteries must feature on your itinerary!
Thiksey Monastery, Leh
Constructed in 15 CE, Thiksey Monastery is beautiful to say the least. This 12 storey monastery complex is perched atop a hill in Thiksey village, east of Leh. The monastery houses many stupas, thangkas and wall paintings.
Lamayuru Monastery, Ladakh
Lamayuru Monastery is located on the Srinagar-Leh highway, in a village called Lamayouru. It is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh and is an ideal place for the study and practice of Buddhist studies. The temple of Seng-ge-sgang is the oldest surviving building of the monastery complex.
Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery, Coorg
Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery is the largest centre of the Nyingmapa line of Tibetan Buddhism. If you thought monasteries in India are limited just to the northern and north-eastern parts, then you need to visit Coorg and make a trip to this monastery!
Tawang Monastery, Bomdila
The largest monastery in India, Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh is situated at a height of 10,000 ft above sea level. With lush forests and snow-capped mountains, the sheer beauty of this place will take your breath away!
Mindrolling Monastery, Dehradun
Set in the foothills of the Himalayas in Dehradun, Mindrolling Monastery is home to the Ngagyur Nyingma College which is among the largest Buddhist schools in the country. With the stunning backdrop of the Himalayas and its own architectural beauty, the monastery is a sight to behold.
Hemis Monastery, Ladakh
Hemis Monastery in Hemis, Ladakh belongs to the Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Records of its existence date back to the 11 CE, but it was re-established by the King of Ladakh in 1672. It is here that the famous Hemis Festival takes place every year to celebrate Lord Padmasambhava, or Guru Rinpoche. It is among the most frequented and popular monasteries in India.
Tabo Monastery, Himachal Pradesh
Established in 996 CE, Tabo Monastery in Spiti Valley is among the oldest monasteries in India. There are 9 temples in the monastery, which hold the holy Wheel of Life. The monastery is surrounded by caves, rendering it the title of “Ajanta of the Himalayas”.
Phuktal Monastery, Zanskar
Built like a honeycomb in a cliffside, Phuktal Monastery in Zanskar was founded in 12 CE. What appears as a cluster of mud huts is actually the monastery complex! The monastery is reached by a suspension bridge built over a river, which really comes alive during monsoons.
Ghoom Monastery, Darjeeling
Situated at a short distance from the city centre, Ghoom Monastery in Darjeeling was built in 1875 and follows the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery has a 15 ft statue of Maitreya Buddha which is decorated with gold and precious stones.
Kye Monastery, Spiti
One of the oldest monasteries, and the biggest in Spiti, Kye Monastery has an extensive collection of Buddhist scriptures and paintings. Influences of Chinese architecture can be seen in the monastery, which looks like a fortress, standing proud atop a hill. The monastery completed 1,000 years in 2000 and the occasion was graced by His Holiness Dalai Lama.
Enchey Monastery, Sikkim
Nestled in the Kanchenjunga mountains, Enchey Monastery is home to Nyingma order of Vajrayana Buddhism. The monastery is built on a ridge and is surrounded by thick pine trees. The monastery is built like a Chinese pagoda, with a golden cupola at the top. Detor Cham, a vibrant Cham festival is celebrated here with great fervour.
Diskit Monastery, Leh
The oldest and largest monastery in Nubra Valley, Diskit Monastery shows heavy influences of Mongol mythology. One of the major attractions of the monastery is the 32 m high statue of Maitreya Buddha, overlooking the Shyok River.
These monasteries in India are not just places of tourist attraction, but home to thousands of years of heritage, carefully preserved to last the sands of time. Let the calm and serene ambience of these monasteries take over and have a blissful vacation!
About the Author:
A wordologist, Etti Bali loves playing around with words, creating a world of absurd. In an ideal world, she would never wake up as she thinks slumber is the answer to all world problems.