Hunting for some peace or if you wish to connect with your inner-self, have a quiet conversation with your sole and achieve redemption, pack your bags and head to the holistic monasteries in different parts of India. The abode of Buddhist monks, the monasteries is constructed in a typical form where the Buddhist leaders teach their pupils to follow the principles of Buddhism and set them on a path to achieve Nirvana. If visiting a monastery was on your travel wish list, we list down 7 monasteries around India where you can just resign yourself and come face to face with peace.
Nestled in the laps of the mighty Himalayas, and surrounded by a beautiful landscape in the snow-clad regions of Ladakh, Hemis Monastery provides a perfect setting to learn about the principles of Buddhism. The history of this monastery dates back to the 11th century, when Sengge Namgyal, the erstwhile king of Ladakh reconstructed it in 1672.
With the reputation of being one of the wealthiest Monasteries in Ladakh region, Hemis also etched itself in history for being the place where the pupils of the ancient Buddhist teacher, Naropa attained enlightenment. The Monastery is renowned for the ‘Hemis Festival’, which takes place in June-July. The festival brings together the Buddhist population in the region who dress-up in the ethnic clothing and take part in the ‘Mask Dance,’ which is the most popular attraction for tourists visiting the festival.
Bodh Gaya, Bihar
The legendary Bodhi Tree, under which, the great Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment is at the center of his Monastery. Bodh Gaya is like the Mecca for the Buddhist followers from not only in India but from all over the world. Buddhism followers and monks from all over the world, especially from China, Sri Lanka, Japan and Thailand come here in their quest to feel closer to the soul of Gautam Buddha, whose presence is felt everywhere around the temple. For Tourists, Bodh Gaya is the best place in the world to learn about how Buddhism is followed in different ways across the world.
Bodh Gaya, the otherwise sleepy town, attracts a huge influx of tourists everyday who come to visit the Bodhisattva Temple and sit under the Bodhi Tree. If you plan to visit the place, don’t miss your chance to sit under the tree, this probably the closet you would get to attain Nirvana.
Darjeeling, known for its vast expanse of tea estates and beautiful natural landscape is also home to the quaint Ghoom Monastery. The Monastery located just about 6 Km from the main Darjeeling town is one of the major tourist attractions in Darjeeling.
The major highlight of the monastery is the 15 feet high statue of Lord Buddha, which is adorned with the precious stones. In front of the statue are tow huge lamps that are kept burning all year long. Darjeeling being close to Tibet, the influence of Tibetan culture is pretty evident here.
*Note for tourists – You need to pay for clicking pictures and shooting videos inside the monastery.
Further to the east of Ghoom Monastery is the Enchey Monastery located in the Kanchenjunga Mountain Range. This is one of the oldest Buddhist structures in the region and is situated amidst dense forest in the hilly folds of Gangtok.
The present day Monastery was built in the honor of Lama Druptob Karpo, a Buddhist tantric master who is known to be the master of art of flying. The story goes that Lama Druptob Karpo took rest in this place for a few days during his journey to the Maenam Hill and built a small shelter for resting. In the regional language, ‘Enchey’ literally means Solitary Temple and true to its meaning the monastery located on the cliff remains peaceful and calm all day.
Tsuglagkhang Complex, Dharamshala
When you think of Monastery, you would invariably think of Dharamshala. The Tsuglagkhang Complex is the official residence of the spiritual leader, Dalai Lama. The complex located amid the forest of Dharamshala is surrounded by tall gazing pine trees.
In the presence of his holiness, the monastery is an ideal place for people to spend a quite time and spend time with the monks and be enlightened with their words of wisdom. The monastery complex has a Museum which houses several paintings that reflect rich Buddhist culture; the paintings are revered by the followers of Buddhism.
Beautiful lakes, snow-clad mountains, magnificent valleys and scintillating streams work like magnets to attract tourists from all over the world to Leh. If you are visiting Leh, make sure to take your time to visit the Diskit Monastery. The monastery founded in the 14th Century is the oldest and the largest monastery in the region. The walls of the monastery are decorated with beautiful paintings that itself speak about the Tashilhunpo Gompa sect of Buddhism.
This is one of the few monasteries located in the southern regions of India. There is a Tibetian Settlement near the Monastery, which gives you glimpses of the Tibetian culture and their way of humble living. The monastery is a grand structure and is renowned for its beautiful interior décor. The gold coated Buddhist statues present a site that would leave you in awe. If you visit coorg anytime, stop by at this Monastery to soak in the beauty and the spiritual air of the place.