20 Buddhist Monasteries In India

If you're looking for some peace and solidarity, Monasteries In India are the way to go! India has some of the most beautiful monasteries that will truly take your breath away. Located among majestic mountains and perched on hilltops, full of vibrant culture and history, these beautiful monasteries are a must visit!

Here is a list of 20 Monasteries in India: 

1. Hemis Monastery, Ladakh

Famous for its rich collection of stupas, gold statues, and thangkas, Hemis Monastery is the largest and wealthiest monastery in all of Ladakh. The architecture of the monastery is that of the Tibetan style- vibrant colours and beautiful murals. The monastery is divided into two major parts: the assembly hall (Dukhan) and the temple (Tshogkhang). There is also a huge courtyard where celebrations and ceremonies are held. Currently, more than a 1000 monks reside at the monastery. There is an annual two-day festival held at Hemis which is very popular among tourists. This festival is for Lord Padmasambhava, whose life was known to be dedicated to improving the spiritual condition of all human beings. At the festival, there are musicians who play traditional music with various wind instruments and masked dance performances. Every 12th year, the largest thangka in the world is displayed at the festival, which is known to give spiritual strength and good health. The next exhibition of the thangka will be in 2024.

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Location: Hemis, Leh Tehsil, Leh, Jammu and Kashmir

History: Hemis was built under the power of King Singge Namgyal in 1672. In the 19th century, Hemis and other monasteries in Ladakh faced a siege by General Zorawar Singh. However, the other monasteries were saved by the head Lama. In 1956, the head Lama disappeared, and a 12-year-old boy was appointed as head Lama.

Timings: 6 AM to 8 PM

Entry fee: INR 100

The best time to visit the monastery is between May-September as the weather is pleasant and trekking routes are open. The festival occurs during June/July of each year.  

2. Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh

Lind among the majestic mountains of Arunachal Pradesh, at an elevation of 3300 meters lies the beautiful Tawang monastery, one of the biggest monasteries in the world, and the largest one in India. It also goes by its Tibetan name 'Gaden Namgyal Lhatse', which roughly translates to celestial paradise in a clear night.  It is home to over 700 monks and 450 lamas with 60 residential quarters. The most impressive building in Tawang is the 'Dukhang', which is the monastery's assembly hall. Its walls armory with murals of different gods and saints. There is a silver casket in the Dukhang which holds thangkas of the Goddess Sri Devi. The thangkas were painted with the blood drawn from the 5th Dalai Lama's nose. They were a present from the 5th Dalai Lama to Merak Lama, founder of the monastery. Another attraction in the Dukhang is the 26 ft tall statue of Lord Buddha.
 
The entrance gate to the Tawang is also a beautiful sight. Its structure resembles that of a hut, as it is supported by two stone walls. The ceiling of the shelter is covered with beautiful paintings of mandalas while the inner walls have murals of deities and saints. From the entrance gate, there is a path that leads to a beautiful outdoor court where the monks often have religious ceremonies.

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Location: Cona, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

History: The Tawang Monastery was founded by Mera Lam Lodre Gyatsoa in the 17th century as per the request of the 5th Dalai Lama. However, Mera Lama searched for a long time to find its location and ended up praying in a cave for a suitable place to build the monastery. When he left the cave, he realised that his horse had gone missing. After a long search, seven-story found his horse standing on a hilltop and decided to build the monastery there as he considered it a sign of the divine power. He named the monastery Tawang, which translates to 'Horse Chosen'. After its establishment, parts of the monastery were destroyed in the Indo-China war.

Timings:  7 AM - 7 PM

Best time to visit:  October and April.
 

3. Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh

About 20 kilometres south of Leh lies one of the most significant monasteries in central Ladakh- Thiksey. The twelve-storey monastery is located on top of a hill, giving magnificent views of the town as well as the Indus valley below. Thiksey consists of numerous white buildings that are arranged in hierarchical order, which stand out against the rocky golden brown hills. Thiksey consists of 10 temples and is currently home to over a 100 monks.

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Location: Thiksey Valley, Leh Manali Highway, Thiksey, Leh, Jammu and Kashmir

History: The monastery is over 600 years old as it was built in the 15th century. According to legend, this monastery was constructed due to a very unexpected event. Jangsem Sherab Zangpo and his disciple Palden Sherab were performing a sacred ritual when all of a sudden two crows appeared and flew away with their ceremonial plate. When they went to search for the ceremonial plate, they found it in 'perfect order' on a stone on top of the hill. The Buddhist monks considered this surprising event as a holy sign to build a monastery in the region. They named it Thiksey, meaning 'perfect order'. A major attraction in the monastery is the statue 'Buddha of the Future, Maitreya' which was built to commemorate the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama in 1970. It also has a museum which has a collection of ancient relics and art from the Buddhist period. There is also a library from where you can read books on ancient Buddhism.

Entry Fee: INR 20

Timings: 7 AM -7 PM

As a sign of respect, it is recommended to wear clothing that covers your shoulders and legs.

4. Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery, Mysore

Home to over 5000 monks and nuns, the Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery is the biggest teaching centre in Nyingmapa, which is a line of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. The monastery also consists of a beautiful temple, known as the Golden Temple which is covered with pristine illustrations of Tibetan mythology. The temple contains three idols of Buddha which are made from pure gold; Buddha Shakyamuni, Padmasambhava and Buddha Amitayus. They are all beautifully sculptured and have a height of about 18 meters. There are a few silver praying wheels that have slogans scripted on them in the prayer hall. Tourists can spin the wheels and this is equivalent to reciting the holy chants. The prayer hall in the monastery can hold 1000s of monks at a time as many festivities and ceremonies are held inside. The Tibetan new year, known as Losar is a big celebration at this monastery and attracts many tourists.

The region which the monastery is located in is often referred to as Little Tibet due to some monks, the weather, the Buddhist chanting and the Tibetan knick-knacks you see in the shopping areas.

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Location: Arlikumari, Bylakuppe, MysoreKarnataka

History: The Golden Temple was established in 1963, by Pema Norbu Rinpoche after he came from Tibet. He initially named the monastery Thegchog Namdrol Shedrub Dargyeling, but when Dalai Lama came to visit he came up with a shorter name for the monastery- Namdroling Monastery.

Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM

Best time to visit: February to March as there are a lot of festivities at the monastery at that time.
 

5. Key Monastery, Spiti

The Key monastery is a renowned Tibetan monastery in the Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated on a beautiful hilltop, giving a magnificent view of the Spiti River flowing adjacent to it. Since its construction, the monastery faced repeated attacks from the Mongols, which have caused several changes to its infrastructure. Due to the reconstructions, the monastery looks more like a fort today, but still just as spectacular. The architecture represents the Chinese influence that was prominent in its design as the temples are built on top of each other, with small corridors and low ceilings. The Key monastery is precisely 1,017 years today, standing at 4,166 meters above sea level.

The monastery is infamous for its religious training center for Buddhist monks, nuns and lamas and is also home to 300 of them. Inside the monastery, there are rooms with murals called Tangyur which are breath-taking. Other than the murals, the monastery is known for its rare thangkas and ancient weapons. 
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Location: Kye Monastery, Spiti Valley, Lahaul and Spiti District, Himachal Pradesh

History: The Kye Monastery was founded in the 11th century by Dromton. It's been under attack several times since its establishment. It was attacked by the Mongols twice; once in the 14th century and again in the 17th century. In 1820, it was damaged and had to be rebuilt again due to the wars between Ladakh and Kulu. In 1840, it was destroyed by a fire, and in 1975 there was an earthquake that did extensive damage to its infrastructure. However, it stands just as tall now as it did 1000 years ago. In 2000, it celebrated its millennium birthday with the presence the Holy Dalai Lama.

Where to stay? : There is an option to stay at the monastery and live among the Lamas for INR 200 per night. This includes all three meals that are cooked by the monks.

How to reach? : Every day, there is a bus that leaves from Kaza to the monastery at 5 PM and returns the next morning at 9 AM.

6. Phuktal Monastery, Ladakh

If you're into trekking, then this monastery is a must-visit! Located in the Zanskar region of Jammu and Kashmir, the Phuktal Monastery is a breath-taking monastery which is home to about 70 monks, Buddhist artworks and vibrant frescos. Its name comes from its location as it is situated at the mouth of a huge cave (Phuktal means 'through caves'). Phuktal is also one of the most isolated monasteries in the country with buildings made of wood and mud. It consists of four prayer halls, a library, a temple, teaching areas and a sacred spring.  Dating back to the 12th century, it is one of the only monasteries in Ladakh that can be reached purely through by foot. Supplies to the monastery are mainly brought through horses and mules in the summer while transported through the frozen Zanskar river in the winter. There is a river which separates the monastery from the outside world. A suspended bridge over the river allows you to reach the monastery. The river flows below the bridge throughout the year. During the monsoon season, the mouth of the cave becomes an outlet for water. It is truly a beautiful sight to behold!

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Location:
Lungnak Valley, Southeastern Zanskar region, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir

History: In the 12th century, Gangsem Sherap Sampo laid the foundation stone of the monastery. For a while three scholar brothers Dangsong, Pun and Sum gave Dharma teachings at the monastery until Jangsem Sherap Zangpo arrived, after which they left the sacred site to him. According to legend, Zangpo's spiritual powers made the cave grow larger, caused a tree to grow above the cave and a spring to run into the cave. This spring is very much protected at the monastery and is considered to be sacred healing water.

Although it was constructed in the 12th century, Phuktal was hidden from the outside world until Hungarian philologist Alexander Csoma de K'rös discovered it in 1826. 

The hike to the monastery takes between 6-8 hours.

Timings: Summer: 4:30 AM - 7 PM
Winter: 8 AM - 5 PM

As a sign of respect, it is recommended to wear clothing that covers your shoulders and legs.
 

7. Diskit Monastery, Ladakh 

The great Diskit monastery is the second biggest monastery in Ladakh after Thiksey. It is located on a hill, above the Shayok River in the Nubra Valley.The main attraction in this monastery is the beautiful statue of Maitreya Buddha, which stands at a height of 106 ft. There are also illustrations of various other guardian deities in the prayer room, as well as a huge drum. From the monastery, you can also see a panoramic view of the entire Diskit village.

The valley has a mild climate due to its low elevation, and the temperatures have created luxurious, abundant vegetation, giving it the name 'Orchard of Ladakh.' The monastery also runs a school with an NGO- Tibet Support Group, where it teaches Tibetan children in English. The NGO has been able to create computer facilities in the school as well as enable the teaching of scientific subjects.

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Location: Diskit, Nubra Valley, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir

History: This monastery center in the 14th century by Changzem Tserab Zangpo. At the time, Ladakh was ruled by a King named Grags-pa-bum-lde. The ruler of Diskit and the Nubra valley helped a Gulugpa order promoter to build a monastery in Diskit to worship the idol of Tsong Khapa. In 1500, Ladakh was ruled under Bkra-shis-rnam-rgyal who fought with invaders from Central Asia. The result of the war brought Nubra under the Ladakh rule. Later, in the 1800s, the control of Diskit monastery was given to the Thiksey monastery and is now considered a sub-gompa of Thiskey.

Entry Fee: INR 30 per person

Timings: 7 AM - 1 PM and 2 PM -7 PM

Best time to visit: July and September; Monastery is inaccessible during winter due to heavy snowfall

8. Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim

As one of the most significant monasteries in Sikkim, Rumtek (also known as the Dharma Chakra Center) was the first monastery built in India that stayed true to traditional Tibetan architectural designs. It also became the model for other monasteries that were later built throughout India. Its interiors are beautifully illustrated with frescos, murals, paintings and sculptures.

 A major attraction at the monastery is the Golden Stupa of the 16th Karmapa that is made of pure gold. You will also find many unique religious objects and scriptures here as well. The monastery also treasures 4 statues: Virupaksha, Virudaka, Dhritarashtra and Vaishravana who are considered as the guardians of the universe. Another attraction is the Black Hat, known as Vajra Mukut, which is a beautiful object that is studded with rubies, diamonds, gold and other precious stones.
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Location: Tsurphu Labrang Pal Karmae Sangha Dhuche, Dharma Chakra Centre, Sikkim

History: Legend has it that after many years of meditating in a cave, ten thousand fairies offered the first Karmapa a strand of their hair as they congratulated him. The strands of hair were woven into the black hat (Vajra Mukut) and had been passed down over generations.

The monastery was built by Gyalwa Karmapa, the 16th Karmapa, in the 1960s. Karmapa who is the head of the monastery came to Tibet after the Chinese invaded his country. He passed away in 1981 and the search began for the 17th Karmapa. The next reincarnation of Karmapa center 10 years later; a boy named Ugen Thinley from Tibet was identified as Dalai Lama. He is currently living in Dharamsala.

Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM

Best Time To Visit:  October and mid-December.

9. Mindrolling Monastery, Dehradun

With breathtaking views of the Himalayan foothills surrounding it, the Mindrolling monastery is a beautiful sight! Its architecture follows a Japanese style, with the walls of the first three floors painted in gold and illustrating the life of Lord Buddha. The fourth floor has an open terrace where tourists can have a spectacular 360-degree view of the Dehradun valley. One of the main attractions in Mindrolling is the stupa, standing at the height of 220 feet. There are magnificent gardens around the stupa which is truly a sight to behold! Another attraction is the 130 feet tall statue of Buddha which is also surrounded by a lush garden and a little Tibetan bookstore.

 
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Location: Bharuwala Colony, Clement Town, Dehradun, Uttarakhand

History: The monastery was constructed by Kochen Rinpoche to protect the religion of Buddhism as well as its cultural understanding. It was designed by 50 people and was completed in 1965 after three years of construction. Throughout its history, many female masters have lived and taught within the Mindrolling lineage. This occurred due to Terdag Linpa who continuously stressed the need for women's education and empowerment.

Timings:  8 AM to 7 PM

10.  Namgyal Monastery, Dharamshala

Home to the largest Tibetan temple in India, the Namgyal monastery holds a beautiful and serene atmosphere. It is one of the most famous monasteries in India as it is the home of the 14th Dalai Lama.

The monastery is inside the Tsuglagkhang complex, which also has a museum, a library, prayer wheels and Buddhist temples. Around 200 monks reside at Namgyal and work to preserve Tibetan traditions and ancient rituals. The monks at the monastery study philosophy, sacred arts and meditation.
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Location: McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh 

History: Namgyal Monastery was founded in the 16th century in Lhasa. The second Dalai Lama established it so that Namgyal monks could help the Dalai Lamas with public affairs as well as operate a centre for learning and meditation. The name Namgyal comes from the longevity female deity Namgyalma. After the Red Chinese invaded Tibet in 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama, along with other monks were given asylum in the Namgyal Monastery. They re-established the monastery in Dharamsala.

Timings: 4:30 AM to 8:30 PM

Best time to visit:  March-June and September-November.

As a sign of respect, it is recommended to wear clothing that covers your shoulders and legs.

11. Tabo Monastery, Spiti

Comprised of nine temples and gompas, the Tabo monastery is a beautiful monastery that is often referred to as the 'Ajanta of the Himalayas.' The monastery is situated in a small village named Tabo in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh. It stands at the height of 1,007 ft and is one of the oldest Buddhist pilgrimage centres in the Himalayan region. The monastery is most known for its exquisite murals and sculptures that resemble the paintings in the Ajanta caves. What makes this monastery so unique is that it is a merging of Indian and Buddhist culture. This is very evident in the illustrations and paintings around the monastery. Above the monastery, there are small caves where many monks go to meditate. The nine temples each have their own special name and significance, such as Tug-Lha-Khang (Temple of the Enlightened Gods) and Dkyil-Khor-Khang (The Mystic Mandala Temple).

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Location: Tabo, Spiti Valley, Lahaul and Spiti District, Himachal Pradesh

History: A translator named Rinchen Zangpo founded the monastery in 996 AD. The nine temples were built between the late 10th and 17th century. The monastery served as a centre of pursuing religious studies as Indian pandits learned Tibetan and worked through the cultural process of the second diffusion of Buddhism. Due to its geographical position, Tabo was an intermediary between the Buddhist communities of both India and Tibet. This is the reason the murals resemble the merge of Indian and Tibetan culture, which is described as Indo-Tibetan.

There is an option to stay at the monastery for relatively low prices.

Timings: 6 AM - 7 PM

Best Time To Visit: May and October.

12. The Lamayuru Monastery, Ladakh

Lamayuru monastery, also known as Yuru Gompa is often referred to as a 'Lunar landscape' for tourists due to the series of mountains adjacent to it that resemble the surface of the moon. At the height of 3150 meters, the monastery also offers a beautiful view of the Indus river that flows below it. Although in ruins, the architecture of this monastery is similar to other Buddhist monasteries. Several buildings are dedicated to Buddha as well as other deities. In the main hall, there is a collection of thangkas, frescoes, and beautiful carpets. The monastery also has intricate murals that display a fusion of Indian and Tibetan arts.

A main attraction of the monastery is the annual festival Yuru Kabgyat. Masked dance performances are the highlight of this festival. Moreover, an important ritual of burning statues also takes place. This ritual is performed as it stands for the destruction of the ego of all individuals.
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Location: B.P.O Khaltse, Leh, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir

History: Mahasiddacarya founded Lamayuru monastery in the 11th century. Up to 500 monks lived at the monastery, practicing the teachings of Buddha. In 1834, Ladakh was invaded by Zorawar Singh as a revenge of the devastation of a Hindu temple in Leh. Many monks of the monastery were massacred, and the monastery itself was destroyed. After Zorawar left Lamayuru, only six monks remained. Rinpoche was devastated after hearing the news so donated his own wealth so that the monastery could be rebuilt.

Opening times: 6 AM to 7 PM

Best time to visit: May - September

13. Stakna Monastery, Ladakh

Stakna monastery or Stakna gompa is another beautiful monastery located in Jammu and Kashmir, which gives amazing views of the Indus valley and the Indus river.  The gompa exhibits Tibetan Buddhism as well as Indian culture. Home to only about 35 lamas, the monastery is renowned for its collection of arms and armoury. There is a small Dukhang at Stakna with intricate illustrations on its walls. There are many paintings of Bodhisattva, Tshong-san-Gompa and Padma Sambhava. To the right of the assembly hall is a seven feet silver stupa, which was made by the head Lama. The stupa represents Buddha and has various texts. There are also three statues of Buddha: Buddha from the past, the present and the future.

 
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Location: Stakna, Leh, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir

History: The monastery was established in the late 16th century by Chose Jamyang, a Bhutanese scholar.  Stakna, meaning 'Tiger's nose' gets its name from its architecture and location, as the monastery which is perched up on a hill looks like a tiger's nose.

As a sign of respect, it is recommended to wear clothing that covers your shoulders and legs.

14. Nako Monastery, Kinnaur

Surrounded by dusty, barren landscape in the valley of Hangrang, close to the India-China border lies the Nako monastery. It is constructed across a beautiful lake, with four independent temples. The main temple worships five Shyani Buddhas: Akshobhaya, Amitabha, Vairochana, Ratnasambhav and Amoghasiddhi. All the temples are quite old, but their original murals have been preserved. There are various stone slabs that have been inscribed in the Tibetan language all throughout the monastery, showcasing Buddhist culture. 
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Location: Nako, Hangrang Valley, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh

History: The monastery was founded by translator Rinchen Zangpo in 996 AD. He also established the  Tabo monastery around this time. It is believed that Zangpo bought religion to Nako in the 8th century. The main temple is named the 'Translation Temple' after Zangpo. 

Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM

Best time to visit: April and October. The monastery is closed for visiting during the winter season due to heavy snowfall.

15. Chokling Monastery, Bir

Located in Bir-Billing, the Chokling monastery consists of a complex of temples, stupas, headquarters for monks as well as a three-year retreat centre. There is a gigantic statue of Padmasambhava which is a famous attraction at the monastery. The entrance to the monastery is decorated with sculptures and murals. The background of majestic mountains creates a picturesque view for all tourists.
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Location: Tehsil Baijath, Dist Kangra, Bir, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh

History: The Chokling Monastery was originally established in Tibet in the 18th century. However, when the Chinese Red Army destroyed the monastery, many monks fled from Tibet and came to Bir. In 1984, Tashi Gyaltsen bought a beautiful site, just 300 meters below Mcleod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh. The present Chokling monastery was established there.

Back in Tibet, in 1992, the people of Dip began reconstructing the monastery with five monks who served in the original Dip Tse Chok Ling. The monastery was reopened in September that year, with only 25% of it complete.

Timings:  9 AM to 5 PM

16. Gandhola Monastery, Spiti

Amidst the glorious mountains of beautiful Lahaul lies the magical Guru Ghantal monastery, otherwise known as the Gandhola monastery. Standing at an elevation of 3160 meters, tourists can enjoy a beautiful view of the convergence of the Chandra and Bhaga river. A unique attraction at the monastery is the wooden idols of Buddha, which according to legend were installed by Rinchen Zangpo. Inside the monastery, there are also other ancient items such as clay sculptures, deity idols, and paintings. Another attraction is a seven-storey fort on the outskirts of the monastery. Made out of timber and stone, it was allegedly built by a ruler named Raja Man Singh.

Every year, there's also a festival celebrated on the 15th lunar day where the Lamas host masked dance performances.

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Location: Gandhola, Lahaul and Spiti District, Himachal Pradesh

History: The monastery was established in the 8th century by Guru Rinpoche. A copper goblet, which is dated back to the 2nd century, was found at the monastery and is believed to be evidence of Buddhist monks living here early. The monastery used to be a complex built in Indian architecture, but nothing of that remains now.

Entry fee: INR 30 per person.

Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM

Best time to visit: May and September
 

17.  Palpung Sherabling Monastic Seat, Keori, Himachal Pradesh

Accessible by only a single road, the remote Palpung Monastery is a magnificent monastery consisting of beautiful shrines and murals. Palpung is home to approximately 750 monks, of which 250 of them are enrolled at the monastic university at the monastery. Other than the university, the monastery also has shrine halls, a school, a library, a museum, an exhibition hall and a dispensary. The main assembly hall of the monastery is the biggest Tibetan Dege-style building in the world, with its walls that are strengthened with inset logs and beautiful window frames. However, most of the buildings in Palpung are in danger of falling apart. Due to the unique architecture of the building, it has been classified as one of the top 100 historic monuments in urgent need to be restored.
Buddhist Monasteries In India,  Palpung Sherabling Monastic Seat

Location:
Sansal- Palpung Sherabling Monastery Road, Keori, Himachal Pradesh

History: The Buddhist religious leader King Denba Tsering established Palpung. Under his power, the Dege Kingdom, which he ruled, grew to 25 tribes. The monastery's construction began in 1727, and was completed two years later. In 1927, the 11th Kenting Tai Situpa Pema Wangchok Gyalpo grew the monastery by extending its main hall, establishing a shedra, and building a sutra-printing house.

Entry fee: INR 30 per person.

Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM

Best time to visit: May and September.

18.  Alchi Monastery, Leh

Located in the Alchi village in Leh, on the banks of the Indus River lie the Alchi Gompa. There are four separate components that make the Alchi monastery, which was all built at different times. Most buildings are built in Kashmiri architecture, including a three-storied temple, called the Sumsteg. There are spiritual details of both Buddhism as well as the Hindu kings of the time on the walls of the buildings. Some of these paintings are the oldest illustrations in Ladakh. There are also huge statues of Buddhas and exquisite wood carvings at the complex. What sets this monastery apart from others is that it is situated on flat ground as opposed to hilltops.
 
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Location: Alchi, Leh District, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir

History: Alchi monastery is another monastery that was built by the great translator Rinchen Zangpo. It was established around the 11th century. Many monks also give credit for this monastery to Kalden Sherab and Tshulthim O, who were Buddhist priests from the powerful Dro clan. There is an inscription in Alchi's prayer hall which Sherab might have requested that goes: 'like a bee, he gathered the essence of wise men's thoughts, which were filled with virtue as a flower is with nectar'. 

Entry fee: INR 30 per person.

Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM

Best time to visit: Between May and September

19. Ghoom Monastery, Darjeeling, West Bengal

The old Ghoom Monastery or the Yiga Choeling Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Darjeeling which was built in 1850. Located below the Ghoom railway station at an altitude of 7,407 ft, the Ghoom Monastery is 7km from Darjeeling city. The Monastery belongs to Gelupka, the yellow hat sect and has a 15-foot model of Lord Buddha. This statue has two unique names - Maitreya Buddha (Buddha of the future) and Gyalwa Shampa (Coming Buddha). Infront of the figure, two huge oil lamps are kept burning throughout the year.

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Location: It is located about 8km from Darjeeling town, and it takes about 30 mins to reach the Monastery. About 2-3 drive from the Hill cart road, you will find the monastery at the corner. The monastery is about 10 minutes of walk from Ghoom railway station.

History: The monastery was established in the year 1850 by Sokpo Sherab Gyatso, a Mongolian astrologer who head the place until 1905. He later went back to Tibet. Lama Domo Geshe Rimpoche succeeded Gyatso as the head of the monastery in 1909. In the year 1959, few high ranking abbots fled to India during the Chinese occupation. They took refuge in the monastery. Dhardho Rinpoche became the new heir in the year 1961 who later died in 1990. After 3 years, a boy name Tenzin came to be known as his reincarnation who is still called as Dhardo Tulku.

Entry fee: No entry fee, extra charges for photography (INR 10) and videography (INR 50)

Timings: Sunrise to Sunset

Best time to visit: All year, 2:00 AM - 8:00 PM

20. Enchey Monastery, Gangtok, Sikkim


The Monastery was established in 1909 in the capital city of Sikkim- Gangtok. Built in the 1840s, it is topped by a shining gold cupola housing a number of gods and goddesses. It also has a collection of a large number of masks that are used during annual ritual dances. During the 18th and 19th day of the 12th month in the Tibetan lunar calendar, Detor Cham- a cham dance festival is held.

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Location: The Monastery is built in Gangtok city on a scenic ridge of a Hill from where one can view Kanchenzonga peak on the northeast. The monastery is on the Natula road that passes through a beautiful avenue of coniferous trees.

History: The Monastery was founded by Lama Druptab Karpo which was the then small hamlet that later turned out to be a religious centre. Lama Karpo was an exponent of the tantric art in Buddism. Enchey means Solitary, hence its sacredness is attributed to the solitude of Kanchenjunga and its protecting deities residing within the monastery. It is believed that these deities fulfil the wishes of all its devotees.

Entry fee: no entry fee

Timings: 4:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Best time to visit: January - February during the dance festival.

Please note: As a sign of respect, it is recommended to wear clothing that covers your shoulders and legs.


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