BEST MONASTERIES IN INDIA
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment”
I have always been attracted to Buddhism because of its simplicity. In Buddhism there is nothing known as ignorance, hate and anger. The story of Buddha in itself is so beautiful that it makes you fall in love with the religion. Lord Buddha was born with wealth and with all the happiness a human being need in life but he wasn’t happy and the reason behind it will make your love for him go even deeper.
He was not happy because all the poverty and hunger from which people are suffering outside his big and lavish palace. He was not happy because others were sad. Buddhism teaches us to love others, to be tolerant towards others.
Some interesting facts about Buddhism
•Buddha is seen as a teacher not a God or avatar of God. •Buddhism says in order to attain enlightment you should have a balanced life •In Buddhism it is not compulsory to go to temple on a particular day instead you should go to temple whenever you can . •In Buddhism temples are a common place of education where you can learn subjects like Philosophy and logic
Buddhism and Monasteries
In general terms monastery means a place or building where people lived and worshipped God. In Buddhism it is written that they understood that not everyone can perform hard practices to achieve enlightenment, they can achieve it by improving their karma . Buddhist monks and nuns pray for everyone else , the common man.Monasteries were made near towns so that they can still have the access to common people and could teach them. At the same time this was a place where they can meditate without any disturbance.
India is the country of many religions and each religion is given equal respect. One such Religion in India is Buddhism which is preserved and celebrated in India since many years. Buddhism was started in India by Buddha and later with it spread across Asia and rest of the world. Here are Top 8 Indian monasteries in India.
Hemis Monastery, Ladakh
Hemis Monastery is situated in Ladakh. It is one of the largest and richest Buddhist monastery in India. Its root traces back to 11th century, the King of Ladakh Sengge Namgyal reconstructed it in 1672.Tourists come here to witness the famous Hemis Festival. During the festival people dress up in ethnic clothes and warmly welcome thousands of tourist who flock here during this festival. The main attraction of the festival is the Mask Dance and Tantric rituals performed by monks. The best time so visit Ladakh is in summer, so pack your luggage and come here.
Best Time To visit – June- July
Mindrolling Monastery, Dehradun
The Mindrolling monastery is located near the Rajaji National Park in Dehradun. It is one of the major Buddhist monasteries of the Nyingma School in Tibet.It was founded in 1676 by Rigzinn Terdak Lingpa.It has one of the tallest statue of Lord Buddha,apart from that it is also famous for its extraordinary architecture. It is one of the main tourist attractions in Dehradun. You get the feeling of tranquillity and peace when you visit this place. The largest Stupa in the world is situated here which is 185 feet tall and the width measures up to 100 square feet. It is the finest example of marvellous architecture and beauty. Check the itinerary, if interested to plan your trip in Himalayas
Best time to visit – Through-out the year.
Tabo Monastery, Spiti Valley
Tabo monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in India. Situated on the left bank of Spiti River and above the Tabo village.Tabo monastery was founded in 996 A.D by Rinchen Sangpo.The most exquisite part of the monastery is the caves which encircle the monastery, they are also known as the Ajanta of Himalayas. Tabo monastery also is considered as the best place to learn teachings of Buddhism; it also offers subjects like Sanskrit, Arts, Social Science, Maths, Social Studies, Hindi, English, Information Technology and General Knowledge. It is not located in any hilly region like many other monasteries in India but at bottom of the Spiti Valley.
Best Time To visit –May- October.
Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim
Rumtek monastery is one the most celebrated monasteries in Sikkim. It is the most visited Monastery in the entire region. It was founded in 9thcentury but got re-established in 1960’s.Due to some of controversies in the past it is one of the highly guarded monasteries in India. The monastery is home to many activities like Mask Dance and special prayers which are performed every morning and evening. Tibetan New Year is celebrated here during May – June which witnesses a grand celebration.
Best time to visit– May-June
Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery, Karnataka
Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery is situated in Karnataka, which is very unique in itself as most of the monasteries in India are located in either in Northern hilly regions or in the north east side of India, but this monastery is situated in the southern part of India. It is one of the major schools that offerstudents Buddhist teachings, philosophy, logic and debate in the Ngagyur Nyingma University which is built within the monastery.
It is founded by Pema Norbu Rinpoche and it is blessed by his holiness Dalai Lama. It can also be called as golden temple because of the amount of gold in the prayer hall and temple is quite overpowering, they also have gold statues of Buddha. It is one of the biggest Tibetan Settlements in India and is home to 500 Lamas –“a Tibetan or Mongolian Buddhist monk.” Definitely boutique tour organizer Nomaday travel suggest you to include this monastery in your tailored South India tour
Best time to visit – February – March
Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh
When you look at this monastery it appears as scenery of Corsica. The infrastructure is so diverse and distinct that it will leave you awestruck. The building which are of more important are placed higher than the building which are placed below it, in other words it placed in an ascending order. The story behind the construction of the monastery is in itself very astonishing, it is said that –
“while performing some sacred rituals, two crows appeared mysteriously and carried the main ceremonial plates with them.”
The plates were later found by his disciple of Pladen Sangpo. Pladen took it as a holy sign and decided to build the monastery. Apart from the 49 ft. statue of Maitreya Buddha, other attractions include paintings, scripts and stupas of Buddhist culture. Every October and November annual festival is celebrated, Cham dance mean mast dance is performed as the part of the ritual.
Best time to visit- October and November
Gondola Monastery, Himachal Pradesh
The 8th century monastery is located on the meeting point of Chandra and Bhaga River, which is considered a holy place. Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava are the founders of this monastery. The main attractions of this monastery are the wooden statues said to be replicas Guru Padmasambhava, Brajeshwari Devi and other lamas.
Best time to visit- October to November
Ghoom Monastery, Darjeeling, West Bengal
It is 7,470 feet above the sea level and is decorated with gold and precious stones. One of the main attractions in the monastery is the statue of Maitreya Buddha . It is said that the monastery’s library contains some of the ancient Buddhist scriptures and is one of the main learning centres. The lamps in front of the statue are kept burning throughout the year. Even after facing huge financial crisis the monastery is still standing tall.
Best time to visit- throughout the year Buddha Travelled all his life and ultimately stopped at the age of 80, this teaches us that we should travel the world just like him and change people’s life and spread love everywhere.
India is a country containing the biggest amount of heritage sites in the world! Visit monasteries, countless forts, palaces and havelis… Whole life is not enough to see all but plancarefully your tailored trip with boutique tour organizer Nomaday travel and enjoy your holidays!!!! – Priyanka Bhoj