Dhankar Monastery, also referred to as Dankhar, Drangkhar or Dhangkar Gompa is situated in the district of Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, India. At an altitude of 12,774 feet, the monastery is perched unbelievably on the edge of a cliff and offers a panoramic view of Spiti valley. Built one thousand years ago on a 1000 feet high mountain and overlooking the heart-stirring sight of the confluence of Spiti and Pin rivers, Dhankar Monastery is listed as one of the world's 100 most endangered monuments.
Standing tall and strong at a dizzying height of 10,000 feet, the Tabo Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries located in the Tabo Village of Spiti Valley. In fact, it is the oldest monastery in India and the Himalayas that has been functioning continuously since its inception. This alluring monastery is renowned as the 'Ajanta of the Himalayas'. This is because the walls of the monastery are decorated with fascinating murals and ancient paintings, much like the Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra.
The Key Monastery is a famous Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Lahaul and Spiti District of India. Located at an altitude of 4,166 metres above the sea level, the monastery is very close to the Spiti River in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh in India. Also known as the Kye Monastery and Ki Monastery, it is believed to have been founded by Dromton, who was a student of the famous teacher Atisha in the 11th century.
The Gandhola Monastery, also known as Guru Ghantal Gompa, is located around 20 kms from Keylong in the Lahaul Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh. Perched on the Tupchiling Village hilltop, at the confluence of Chandra and Bagha Rivers, Gandhola Monastery is the oldest monastery in the Lahaul region, founded by Padma Sambhava around 800 years ago. It is famous for its wooden idols, which stand out from the clay idols found in all other monasteries.
One of the most popular gompas in Lahaul and Spiti Valley, Kardang Monastery is located in Kardang village on the banks of Bhaga river. At an altitude of 3500 metres, it is situated on a ridge below Rangcha Peak, facing the town of Keylong. Since 900 years, the Kardang Monastery has remained an important centre for Buddhist culture and principles. It is famous worldwide for its alluring architecture, religious significance and phenomenal collection of murals, thangkas, paintings and instruments.
Located in the Pin Valley, around 10 km from Attargo and 3 km from Gulling, the Kungri Monastery is the second oldest monastery in Spiti valley and the only one following Nyingmapa Buddhism. It is also the oldest order of Tibetan Buddhism. The Kungri Gompa is frequently visited by pilgrims, tourists and Buddhist scholars.
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Shashur Monastery is a Buddhist Monastery of the Drugpa Sect, located in Lahaul Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. It is a three-storey structure located at a distance of 35-40 km from Manali. The literal meaning of "Shashur" in the local language is blue pines, as blue pine trees can be found around the Shashur Monastery.
Tangyud resembles a fortified castle with enormous and overlooking mud walls and battlements. Built on the edge of a deep canyon, Tangyud is one of the only two monasteries belonging to the Sakya sect in Spiti.
A Buddhist Monastery located in the Bhaga Valley of Spiti, the Tayul Monastery houses the biggest statue of Padma Sambhava. The statue is 12 ft. tall, in his two manifestations as Singhmukha and Vajravarahi. Situated around 6 kms from Keylong, the Tayul Gompa also has a hundred million mani wheels, which are supposed to open the minds of visitors to the compassion of Lord and are said to turn themselves on auspicious occasions.
So here's the list of Monasteries that deserve a visit in Spiti. Take a monastery tour if you want to uplift your spirit with the most devout chantings ever. It is said that you actually find inner peace. So seize that trip to Spiti and reconnect with yourself by visiting these 9 Monasteries from the spiritual side of the world.