|MAP OF MONASTERIES IN HIMACHAL
|in Lahaul Valley
||in Spiti Valley
This monastery is situated on a hill above the
Tupchiling village at the confluence of the rivers Chandra and Bhaga. This gompa was
founded by Padma Sambhava and is more than 800 years old. The peculiar feature of the
gompa is the wooden idols as distinguished from the clay idols found in other monasteries.
The Guru Ghantal white marble head was installed by its founder, but now the same is kept
under lock and key for fear of theft. This monastery has idols of Guru Padma Sambhava,
Brijeshwari Devi and several other lamas. On the 15th lunar day (mid June) a festival
called Ghantal was celeberated at which the visiting lamas and Thakurs used to
feast for one day. The festival is no longer celeberated.
There is one blackstone statue of a goddess identified as kali in the innermost
chamber which gives credence to the theory that this was once a Hindu temple like the
Trilokinath temple at Udaipur.
The wall paintings are in stone colours. Because of lack of care colours have
washed away. There is lot of seepage in the monastery. Another reason for lack of care is
that most of the valuables have been transported to the Tupchiling gompa which is easily
accessible and the caretaker also hails from this village only. The workmanship in the
gompa is certainly superior to all other gompas.
Sha-shur in the local parlance means in
the blue pines. This is very apt as good patches of blue pine can still be seen around
This gompa was founded in the 17th C. AD by Lama Deva Gyatsho of Zangskar who was a
missionary of Nawang Namgyal, the king of Bhutan. The lamas of the gompa are of the Drugpa
sect (red hat sect). Namgyal founded this sect and the name originated from Dug
which in the Bhoti language means Bhutan. Before Deva Gyatsho renovated the present
monastery, there existed a small gompa. Deva Gyatsho stayed at the monastery till his
death. When he was being cremated, this is said, his heart did not burn and was enclosed
in a black image of Gyatsho. A statue of Namgyal is also present in the gompa.
This gompa has the biggest Thanka paintings, over fifteen feet, and invalueable wall
paintings depicting all the 84 siddhas of Buddhism. In the month of June/July Chham is
performed in the monastery which is the most popular Chham in Lahaul.
Village Kardang which was once the capital of
Lahaul has 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. This was
founded about 900 years ago and stood in ruins uptill 1912 when Lama Norbu of Kardang
renovated it. This gompa 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". The monastery is perched on a ridge below the
15000 feet high Rangcha peak. The valley is so placed that Kardang gets maximum sunshine
This monastery houses the largest number of lamas and chomos. The library of the gompa is
one of the biggest containing full volumes of Kangyur and Tangyur. Since the
monastery belongs to the Red Hat sect the regimen is not very strict. Nuns and monks enjoy
equality. Lamas can marry and generally they stay with their families during summers to
work in the fields. In winters they return to the gompa for meditation.
In the vicinity of the monastery is a silver coated Chhorten. The walls of the gompa are
decorated with colourful wall paintings. The influence of Lama Gozzangwa is easily
perceptible in the monastery as one can see a number of tantrik paintings and statues
depicting a male and a female engaged in ecstatic union. The bhandar has a large
store of musical instruments, dresses, thankas and other such articles.
Its founder Lama Norbu died in 1952 and his mortal remains as also his silver Chaitya/stupa
are preserved in the gompa.
In the Kardang village one can visit another small gompa of Lama Gozzangwa and outside the
gompa can see rock carvings and two big Chhortens.
gompa above the village of Satingri has the biggest statue of Padma Sambhava and his two
manifestations as Singhmukha and Vajravarahi. The statue is 12 feet tall.
This gompa houses full library of Kangyur. Thankas in the gompa depict various episodes
from the life of Lord Buddha.
Tayul gompa written in Tibetan as Ta - Yul means chosen place. It is one of
the oldest Dugpa sect monasteries in Lahaul. One Dugpa lama, Serzang Rinchen of Khan
region of Tibet, founded this monastery in the beginning of the 17th C. There is a story
about how this place was chosen for construction of a monastery. Lama Serzang while making
the meritorious circumambulation of the holy peak Drilburi spotted a small glade in the
juniper forest above Kyor and Tashikyang villages on the opposite side of the valley. He
then told his fellow pilgrims, "Look, over there, that is a suitable and auspicious
place for a gompa". Thus the building of the gompa began to take shape. This
monastery houses a hundred million mani wheel
by turning which the minds of the sentient beings open to the compassion of
the Lord. This mani wheel is reputed to be "self turning" on auspicious
occasions. According to the lamas this wheel last turned on its own in 1986.
After almost a century a Ladakhi Tulku Tashi Tanphel of Tagna monastery renovated and
extended the building of this gompa. He decorated the walls with murals, made stucco
images of giant size referred to above and brought in the Narthang edition of the Kangyur
hamlet is situated at a distance of 18 kms from Keylong. It has a gompa where in the month
of July devil dance
is enacted by the Lamas. The Thakurs of Gushal are now settled in this village on the
right bank of the river Chandra. The place is easily accessible as it is on the Manali-Leh