Hello! For many of us, the perfect trip is defined by magnificent sites that we may come across through our travel. And for those of us who relish in this beauty that lies behind the culture and heritage of a place, we’re ready to embark on any journey for this. And so, keeping this in mind, we have made a list of monasteries in the country that’s not just vibrant in architecture but has a rich culture and heritage to fall back on, as well. So, let’s dive in and explore the 10 most beautiful monasteries in India that you’ve gotta visit for a divine experience!
- Thiksey Monastery
Perched on a hilltop, Thiksey Monastery is situated less than 20 km away from the town of Leh. It was built in 1430 AD and belonged to the Gelukpa Order of Buddhism. The rustic beauty of the peaceful relic of the past will leave you dazzled. The panoramic view of the valley surrounding this monastery adds to its charm, giving it a high place on the list of tourist places to visit in the country.
Where | Thiksey Monastery – Leh Manali Highway, Thiksey
- Tabo Monastery
Located in the gorgeous Spiti Valley and surrounded by the rugged terrain gleaming with lethal beauty, Tabo is a must-visit for folks who’re planning to visit this valley. This site was built by the Buddhist king Yeshe-Ö (AKA Royal Lama) in 996 AD, but the original monastery was damaged during the 1975 Kinnaur earthquake. However, since then, new buildings have been added to this place, and the remaining gorgeous architecture does give you a glimpse into a bygone era.
Where | Tabo Monastery – Tabo, Himachal Pradesh
- Phugtal Monastery, Zanskar
Hidden by the rugged mountains and nestled amidst steeping rocks, Phugtal Monastery is one of the few remaining monasteries that can be reached only on foot. This mysterious-looking monastery was built in a natural cave around 2,550 years ago, which is believed to have been visited by numerous sages, scholars, translators and monks.
Where | Phugtal Monastery – Zanskar, Ladakh
- Gonjang Monastery
This one is located in Gangtok, Sikkim and is about 6 km away from the heart of the town. Built-in 1981, it was founded by H.E. Tingkye Gonjang Rimpoche. The vibrant amalgamation of colours against the stark white walls will leave you in awe of this place. While you’re here, make sure to snap this gorgeous sight behind your camera lens!
Where | Gonjang Monastery – Gangtok, Sikkim
- Tawang Monastery
Located near the mountain top, the monastery offers an unparalleled view of the snow-capped mountains and the coniferous forest covering the valley beyond. Merek Lama Lodre Gyamsto founded this monastery in 1680-81 at the behest of the 5th Dalai Lama. With a colourful entrance that paves the way for a mansion-like structure inside, you’ve gotta visit this site when you’re in the region.
Where | Tawang Monastery – Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
- Key Monastery
Another gem located in Himachal Pradesh, this monastery will leave you mesmerised with its fantasy-like picturesque location. It’s touted to have been found way back in the 11th Century, and the colourful wall murals coupled with paintings make it a dazzling place to visit. The enchanting views of the surrounding valleys definitely make it a sight to behold!
Where | Key Monastery – Key, Himachal Pradesh
- Ghum Monastery
A beautiful monastery tucked away in the bustling city, it was established in 1850 by the Mongolian astrologer and monk Sokpo Sherab Gyatso, who was also the monastery’s head until 1905. The beautiful Maitreya Buddha statue inside the main building is truly a wondrous sight!
Where | Ghum Monastery – Ghum, West Bengal
- Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery
Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery was established by the 11th throne holder of the Palyul lineage, Drubwang Padma Norbu Rinpoche, in 1963, after his 1959 exit from Tibet as the second seat of the Palyul Monastery. The splendid architecture showcases a brilliant splash of colours that will leave you speechless with its beauty!
Where | Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery – Arlikumari, Bylakuppe, Karnataka
- Rumtek Monastery
This one is also in Sikkim and is also one of the most popular sites in the region. Rumtek Monastery is the seat-in-exile of the Gyalwang Karmapa, inaugurated in 1966 by the 16th Karmapa. Did you know this is currently the largest monastery in Sikkim? Yep, and here the monks perform rituals and practices pertaining to the Karma Kagyu lineage.
Where | Rumtek Monastery – Tsurphu Labrang Pal Karmae Sangha Dhuche, Dharma Chakra Centre, Sikkim
- Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery has situated 45 km from Leh, and one can define this as a sight for sore eyes. The monastery has an old-world charm to it, and is one of those places where you’d want to whip out your phone to grab a memorable photo! Every year in June, they hold the Hemis festival honouring Padmasambhava.
Where | Hemis Monastery – Ladakh
Now that you have a bunch of names from the many sites in the Nation make sure to mark ’em off your travel list!