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Timings : 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Gyuto Monastery, Dharamshala Overview

Popularly known for the study of Tantric Meditation and Philosophy, the Gyuto Monastery is one of the beautiful and popular monasteries located in Dharamshala. It was founded in India in 1959 and was established for preserving and promoting the tradition of Black Magic, popularly known as Tantric Teachings, of the great teacher Ksongkhapa. The glorious monastery has helped in depicting how, unlike popular belief, black magic can be used for the well-being of the people.

The Gyuto Monastery is beautifully constructed on a hilltop with a commanding view of the Dhauladhar Ranges and the Beas River from there. A beautiful gold-plated statue of Lord Buddha is situated on the premises of the temple which glistens when the rays of the sun fall on it early morning. Plenty of tourists and Buddhists come to the resplendent Gyuto Monastery to witness the quiet and serene monastery which is one of the delights of Dharamshala.

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History of Gyuto Monastery

Gyuto Monastery was founded in 1474 by Dalai Lama’s chief disciple, Konga Dhondup. It was re-established in 1959 in India and houses over 500 monks and is the temporary residence of His Holiness, the Karmapa. The monks at Gyuto Monastery are famous for their chants and were even nominated for a Grammy in 2011. The objective with which it was established, was focussed on translating the teachings of Buddhism through traditions and religious texts.

Based on the teachings, four lineages were developed on the basis of specific lineages of teachings, interpretations and locations. The Gelug Lineage, the last of the four lineages, was pioneered by Ksongkhapa, a great scholar and one of the most learned and accomplished leaders of Tibet. He promoted the teaching of tantra and established the two monasteries, Gyudme and Gyuto, where all the teachings of Tantra take place.

Gyuto Monastery
Inside the main Gompa of Gyuto Monastery
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How to Reach Gyuto Monastery

One of the ways to reach Gyuto Monastery is to take a shared car or taxi from Dharamshala as it is 8 km away. One can also take a route from McLeod Ganj as it is 13 km away from the monastery. The closest one is from Sidbari which is located on the main road to Palampur. It can be reached within half an hour, for which public transportation is also available.

Best Time to Visit

The Gyuto Monastery is open and tourists can visit the monastery any time as per their wish. However, it is recommended to visit during the festival of Buddha Purnima as the decoration of the monastery is done with splendour. It also attracts various cultural programmes like music and dance and the lip-smacking, delicious Tibetan food is another delicacy that one looks forward to.

Gyuto Monks

In order to take admission at the Gyuto Monastery as a monk, one has to memorize the ritual texts of Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara and Vajrabhairava. After that recitation, tests are given after six months and this is for a duration of four years. After taking full ordination, the Gyuto Monks have to learn various rituals, principles, paintings, measurement of different stupas along with their symbols. This is done for a period of five years.

The Gyuto Monks have to specialize in one of the tantric studies and have to compulsorily attend a one-year specialization class after completion of the tantric education. Besides doing some additional courses, they have to do research in any of the topics taught in their previous classes. They also have to give chanting tests, written tests, memorization tests, practical tests in rituals and drawing various symbols as prescribed in the course curriculum. Once all the above criteria are met, the Gyuto Monks are granted certificates according to their performances in the tests and thus, all the requirements of being a monk at Gyuto Monastery are met.

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