The rugged awe-inspiring snow clad mountains of Lahaul Spiti not only stand as an invitation to the hikers, mountaineers and adventurers but also to the spiritual explorers. The entire district of Lahaul Spitit is full of natural beauty exorting the tourists and visitors to explore and imbibe its hidden grandeur. The customs, myths, beliefs and conventions of the simple people are the unique features of this border highland. Every village or a hamlet has prayer flags fluttering over the Buddhist monastery. These shrines are a centre of the cultural life of people and have influenced their religious beliefs for centuries and around which their social life revolves. Here’s a glimpse of 7 spiritual wonders of Lahaul Spiti to encompass your spiritual journey.
7) Guru Ghantal Monastery This monastery is situated on a hill above the Tupchiling village at the confluence of the rivers Chandra and Bhaga. The monastery was founded by Padma Sambhava and is more than 800 years old. The peculiar feature of the monastery are the wooden idols as distinguished from the clay idols found in other monasteries. This monastery has idols of Guru Padma Sambhava, Brijeshwari Devi and several other lamas.
6) Kardang Monastery Kardang Monastery is located in the village of Kardang which was once the capital of Lahaul. It is the most popular and the biggest monastery of the area. The monastery is situated on the left bank of the river Bhaga just above the village of Kardang. It was founded about 900 years ago and stood in ruins upto 1912 when Lama Norbu of Kardang renovated it. Kardang monastery is located against the backdrop of the bare mountains of the Rangcha massif which rises above the valley like a giant cobra standing on its tail with hood outspread, ready to strike.
5) Kungri Monastery Kungri Monastery is Spiti’s second oldest monastery, located in the Pin valley. The Kungri gompa was built around 1330 AD. It provides unmistakable evidence of tantric cult as practised in Buddhism. Kungri gompa is the main centre of the Nyingma-pa sect in Spiti.
4) Kibber Monastery The village of Kibber is located at a height of about 14,200 ft in a narrow valley on the summit of a limestone rock.The monastery in Kibber which is named after Serkang Rimpochhe of Tabo. The remarkable feature about the architecture of this gompa is the use of stone instead of mud or adobe brick used extensively in the valley. The lama breathed his last in Kibber in 1983 and when he was being cremated a water source erupted from that spot. Even today the source is being used by the villagers.
3) Shashur Monastery Sha-shur in the local Spiti parlance means in the blue pines. This is very apt as good patches of blue pine can still be seen around the monastery. Shashur monastery was founded in the 17th C. AD by Lama Deva Gyatsho of Zangskar. In the month of June/July Chhame (local folk dance) is performed in the monastery which is the most popular Chham in Lahaul.
2) Kye Monastery Overlooking Kaza from a height of about 13,500 ft, the Kye monastery is the largest in the valley and holds a powerful sway over the most populous part of the valley around Kaza. The gompa is an irregular heap of low rooms and narrow corridors on a monolithic conical hill. It is also known for its beautiful murals, thankas, rare manuscripts, stucco images and peculiar wind instruments that form part of the orchestra whenever Chham is enacted in the gompa in summer. Another interesting aspect of the gompa is its collection of weapons which may have been used to ward off marauders as also to maintain its control over people betraying a church-militant character.
1) Tabo Monastery Tabo also known as the Ajanta of Himalayas is an ancient village located located 46kms away from Kaza, on the left bank of the Piti river at an altitude of 10004 feet. The biggest attraction of this village, for that matter of the whole valley, is the Tabo monastery, called Chogs-hkhor (‘doctrinal circle’ or ‘doctrinal enclave’) is a complex that holds nine temples, 23 chortens, a monks’ chamber and an extension that houses the nuns chamber. Tabo holds the distinction of being the largest monastic complex in Spiti.
For details on our august trip to Lahaul Spiti click here.
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