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Label : Top Attraction

Tags : Buddhist Temple

Timings : 6:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Morning prayers: 6:00 AM
Classes for Monks:8:00 AM to 9:00 AM (can be attended with prior permission.)

Address : 39VM+C56, Tabo, Himachal Pradesh 172113

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Founder : Rinchen Zangpo

Opened : 996 AD

Style : 9 temples, 4 Stupas, 23 chortens, monks quarters

Sect : Gelug

Price to Stay : Dormitory Facilities: INR 120 per head.
Room: INR 850 for a room

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Also Refered As:

Tabo Gompa

"Ajanta of the Himalayas"

Tabo Monastery, Spiti Valley Overview

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'.

The walls of the monastery are decorated with fascinating murals and ancient paintings, much like the Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra and hence the name. Resting peacefully on the left bank of the sparkling Spiti River, the Tabo Monastery is proud of having preserved the glorious traditions and heritage of Buddhism in the form of artistic murals, intricate paintings, elegant stuccos and exquisite frescoes.

Being one of the most historically significant sites in the Buddhist culture, the Archeological Survey of India has taken over the responsibility of its maintenance and preservation. Spanning over an area of 6300 sq. Km. in the cold desert of the Tabo Valley and enveloped by tall walls of mud bricks, this culturally rich heritage site is highly revered by Buddhist monks and comes second only to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet. Built by the revered Buddhist king, Yeshe-O, the Tabo Monastery is now a priceless treasure to the Buddhist community.

Must Know Before You Visit Tabo Monastery

Note : 1. A one-night stay at the monastery guest house is recommended to best experience the monastery. 
2. Temperatures remain low throughout the year, so heavy woollens must be carried.
3. Local Tabo dishes are a must try. The monks offer butter tea with Tibetan bread, which is a speciality there and is a must try.
4. Carry a torch when you visit the monastery because the premises don't use electricity throughout. It is always best to ask a monk to accompany you when you explore the monastery because the monks are very well versed in the history of the region.
5. There are gift shops here where you can buy souvenirs, thangka paintings or picture postcards. All the proceeds are used for preserving the monastery.
6. It is best to visit the Tabo Monastery between April and October when the cold is tolerable.
7. Photography in the temples is prohibited.

Tabo Monastery Highlights

1. The Temple Complex

The Temple Complex
The wooden frame in the doors of the Bodhisattva Temple testifies that it was made within the first 100 years of the construction of the monastery. The murals on the walls show that the Bodhisattva Te (Read More)mple was originally a two-storied one and this can be confirmed by the damage sustained by the entrance wall. A magnanimous 20 ft tall image of the Bodhisattva Maitreya lies in this temple.

2. Festival of Chakar

Festival of Chakar
The festival of Chakar is joyously celebrated at the Tabo Monastery. A celebration of peace and love, Chakar is celebrated every three years between September and October. It is observed by performing (Read More) masked dances and traditional folk dances, singing religious songs and enjoying time with your loved ones. To be a part of this merriment is a wonderful experience.

3. Tantric Rites & Worship

Tantric Rites & Worship
Worship is the primary activity at the monastery. One must not miss the 6:00 AM morning prayer when the chants of the Buddhist monks reverberate through the walls of the assembly hall and soothe sense (Read More)s. The cliff above the monastery also houses some peaceful caves where monks and lamas sit in deep meditation. Tantric rites are also performed within the compound.

4. Serkong School

Serkong School
The Tabo monastery was established to preserve and protect the Buddhist legacy and hence is now an advanced centre for Buddhist learning. The school was established on 29 May 1999 and is currently suc (Read More)cessfully moulding the futures of 274 children! The school has a staff of 15 teachers that together educate the students in the subjects of English, Hindi, Bhoti (Tibetan), Maths, Science and General Knowledge. Half of the costs of running this school are borne by the government, and the other half comes from donations and fees.

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