One of the major world faiths, Buddhism teaches a magnificent method of philosophical thought, meditation, and spiritual growth. The followers of Buddha brought about the age of Buddhism in the Magadha region and propagated it all across the world. The founder of this spiritual belief was Siddharth Gautam, who, together with his adherents, founded numerous Buddhist monasteries throughout India. Buddhism’s primary objective is to achieve nirvana and escape from suffering, reincarnation cycles, and suffering. Buddhists number between 250 million and 500 million worldwide. Numerous Buddhist temples and other associated religious buildings can be found nationwide.
One of the most important aspects of Buddhism is monasticism. Buddhist teachings must be preserved and disseminated, and followers must be instructed and led by monks and nuns. Vassa, the retreat practised by Buddhist monks and nuns during the South Asian rainy season, is where Buddhist monasteries first appeared. Over time, monasteries were transformed into places of study where philosophical ideas were created and discussed.
Monasteries run by Buddhists are among the most revered sites of devotion. In quest of tranquilly, millions of people from all over the world visit these places of worship. We present to you a list of the world’s most incredible monasteries.
Bhutan’s upper Paro valley is home to the revered Vajrayana Himalayan Buddhist site, Paro Taktsang. One of the thirteen Tiger’s Nest caves in ancient Tibet where Padmasambhava taught and practised Vajrayana.
Around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave, where Guru Padmasambhava pondered and practised with followers like Yeshe Tsogyal before leaving the Tibetan monarchy in the early ninth century, a subsequent monastery complex was constructed in 1692. Bhutan’s tutelary deity, Padmasambhava, is credited with bringing Vajrayana Buddhism to Bhutan, formerly part of Tibet. Paro Taktsang is currently the most well-known of the thirteen taktsang, or “tiger lair,” caves where he and his followers meditated.
The Padmasambhava shrine, also known as Gu-ru mTshan-brgyad Lhakhang or “the Shrine of the Guru with Eight Names,” alludes to Padmasambhava’s Eight Manifestations. It is a beautiful building that Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye erected around the cave in 1692. It has evolved into Bhutan’s national symbol. In the Paro valley, a well-liked event called the Tsechu is conducted in honour of Padmasambhava sometime in March or April.
At the height of 13,667 feet, Key Gompa, also known as Ki Monastery, is a notable Tibetan Buddhist monastery dating back 1,000 years. Parts of the building that have undergone numerous restorations and demolitions can be seen on the trail going up to the monastery. As a result, the monastery now resembles a fort with temples stacked on top of one another and has a box-like appearance.
It serves as a centre for lama training in religion and is the biggest monastery in the Spiti Valley. It was said to have had 100 monks in 1855. The monastery is devoted to Lochen Tulku, the great translator Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo’s 24th incarnation.
A historic building called Yumbu Lakhang may be found in the Yarlung Valley, close to Tsetang in Nêdong County, the administrative centre of Lhoka Prefecture, in the southern Tibet Autonomous Region of China. It served as the palace of the first Tibetan king, Nyatri Tsenpo, and is said to have been the first building ever built in Tibet.
In Tibetan, the name translates to “Palace of Mother and Son.” The palace was converted into a monastery of the Gelugpa School during the rule of the fifth Dalai Lama. Sadly, it suffered significant damage during the cultural revolt and was reduced to a single level until being rebuilt in 1983.
The palace of Nyatri Tsenpo, the first Tibetan ruler, is said to have been the earliest structure in Tibet. Yumbu Lakhang is located in the Yarlung Valley of southeast Nêdong County, about 192 kilometres southeast of Lhasa and 9 kilometres south of Tsetang, on a hill on the eastern bank of the Yarlung River.
One of China’s most incredible vistas is the Hanging Monastery, which hangs precariously 75 metres above the ground midway up a cliff. This impressive monastery, consisting of 40 chambers connected by walkways and hallways suspended in midair, was constructed in the fifth century AD and had been “hanging” there for the past 1500 years.
The Hanging Temple is one of the most popular tourist destinations and historic locations in the Datong region, along with the Yungang Grottoes. This temple is significant not only for its placement on a sheer cliff but also because it is the only one still in existence that combines the three classic Chinese philosophies or religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Oak crossbeams that are inserted into cliff-cut holes hold the building in place.
The adjacent Mount Popa volcano created a volcanic plug, which is where the monastery is located. It is strangely out of place on the landscape, rising 737 metres above sea level like the only skyscraper in the settlement of shacks. The top’s gold shimmers in the Myanmar sun when viewed from below.
Up until he passed away in the 1940s, a hermit by the name of U Khandi kept up the stairs. It wouldn’t have been a particularly isolated existence for a hermit. This monastery is a well-liked place of worship for the people of Myanmar.
Central Beijing is home to the Lama Temple, sometimes referred to as the Yonghe Temple, Yonghe Lamasery, or Yonghe Lama Temple. The largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in Beijing is the Lama Temple, which is also a well-liked place of prayer for locals.
The lama temple has been one of the most significant Tibetan Buddhism temples in China ever since the Qianlong emperor (reigned 1735–96) transformed it from a royal palace to a Tibetan Buddhist temple. In addition to being a Tibetan Buddhism museum today, it is also a working temple where people can go to pray.
The first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia, Erdene Zuu (hundred jewels), is one of the most amazing places on earth. Mongolia is renowned as an adventurer’s paradise because of its untamed nature and the legend of Genghis (Chengiz) Khan. Abtai Sain Kha created Erdene Zuu in 1586, and it was constructed out of stones. There were formerly 60 temples in the vast complex, but there are currently only 13. But it is a wonderful spot to visit for history fans and anyone interested in learning more about this lovely period of history.
Since 1586, Erdene Zuu has experienced a lot of history and undergone different phases. It experienced neglect at times and significant revivals and prosperity at other periods. The monastery experienced extreme hardship from 1937 to 1939, the height of Stalinist repression in Mongolia. In 1965, it then reopened once more. It was only allowed to reopen as a museum, not as a house of worship.
Within this monastery complex, 108 stupas and three temples have withstood the test of time. These are referred to as Baruun Zuu, Zuun Zuu, and Zuu of Buddha. These are the main draws in this area; they are devoted to the three phases of Buddha’s life: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
The Thiksey Monastery, a member of the Gelukpa Order of Buddhism, is situated north of the Indus River on a mountaintop, less than 20 kilometres from Leh town. It was founded in 1430 A.D. Within the Thiksey monastery is the Lakhang Nyerma Temple, which is devoted to the goddess Dorje Chenmo. There are a few additional shrines in the monastery complex in addition to Lakhang Nyerma.
The Gustor ceremony is held at Thiksey Gompa from September 17th to 19th. The sacred mask dance, which is celebrated annually, is also done at the Gustor rite. The Maitreya Buddha statue here is arguably the future Buddha’s most popular subject for photos. The stunning 15 m (49 sculpture took more than four years to create.
The Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism’s Thikse Monastery is renowned for its resemblance to Lhasa’s Potala Palace. In the Indus valley, the monastery is situated at the height of 3,600 metres.
Beautiful Buddhist wall paintings, statues, and stupas may be found inside this 12-story building. The Maitreya Temple, built in tribute to the 14th Dalai Lama’s visit to the Thikse Monastery in 1970, is one of the primary attractions.
At an elevation of 14,108 feet, Ganden Monastery, one of Tibet’s “big three” university monasteries, is located at the summit of Wangbur Mountain. Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery make up the other two. The Red Guards entirely destroyed the monastery in 1959, and they even set fire to Tsongkhapa’s mummified body, the monastery’s founder. Since the 1980s, the monastery has been undergoing reconstruction.
The Ganden Monastery, sometimes called Ganden Namgyal Ling, is very important to Tibetan Buddhism. In Tibet, the experience of being overpowered by something substantial while you are close to Ganden is described as “spirituality.” In addition to the subtle beauty of monasteries like Ganden, if you travel off the well-worn path of the Tibetan Plateau’s untamed wildness, you will also come across the mysteries of the unique spiritual and historical backgrounds that these monasteries provide.
One of the most well-liked religious destinations for Buddhists in India is the Mindrolling Monastery. It is situated in the Uttarakhand district of Dehradun, near the Rajaji National Park. The monastery’s Buddha temple is one of the main tourist attractions and a magnificent architectural wonder. With a height of 107 feet, the monastery is home to one of the most incredible and giant sculptures of Lord Buddha.
Mindrolling Monastery, one of Dehradun’s most well-known tourist attractions, is one of the six principal monasteries of the Nyingma School of Tibet. The monastery was rebuilt in 1965 by Khochhen Rinpoche after being first built in 1676 by Rigzin Terdak Lingpa. The location is precious to tourists and pilgrims and is recognised as a masterpiece of architecture.
The Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, which is located at the height of 10,000 feet above sea level, is framed by the picturesque Himalayan mountain ranges. Given that it is the sixth Dalai Lama’s birthplace and the second-largest Buddhist monastery in Asia, it is a must-see attraction in Arunachal.
View the monastery’s interior walls, which are covered in statues, murals, and altars for Mahayana Buddhism, all of which contribute to the serene atmosphere. You can also hear the Buddhist monks’ early-morning prayers here at dawn.
The Phuktal Monastery’s location at the entrance to a cave and on a cliff’s edge is its best feature. Given that the way to get there involves crossing a suspension bridge, this monastery is ideal for anyone who enjoys hiking.
The monastery, which is made up of a collection of houses and resembles a honeycomb, will captivate you. Here, more than 70 monks live and give daily prayers. This place is incredibly gorgeous during the monsoons, when water pours out of the cave’s mouth.
Originally founded in Tibet in the ninth century, Rumtek Monastery was later relocated to India in the early 1960s. This contentious building, which is regarded as one of the most vibrant and impressive Buddhist temples in all of India, is a must-see while you’re in Sikkim. There is usually tight security here since there have been violent altercations and invasions by monks claiming lineage.
You will be transported to a different place by the chanting, rituals, mask dances, and echoes of the prayer wheels at this monastery. Be sure to go when the yearly group meditation and the Tibetan New Year, when masked dances are performed, are taking place.
The Tsuglagkhang Complex is a Buddhist monastery in Dharamsala that also serves as the Dalai Lama’s official residence. It is tucked away among pine forests. Take a ritual stroll around the complex to see how the Buddha lives simply at this monastery.
Around the facility, prayer flags flutter, putting you immediately at ease. Another must-see is the three-meter-tall, golden statue of Sakyamuni Buddha that is housed inside the temple.
The Diskit Monastery, which belongs to the Gelugpa sect and has a statue of Jampa Buddha, is one of the best-known Buddhist monasteries in India. The Dalai Lama performed the inauguration, and its length is 32 metres. You’ll experience calm and peace from this monastery’s beautiful views of the Naruba Valley.
Enjoy the religious fervour at the shrines while seeing the ceilings and murals that reflect the Tashilhunpo Gompa of Tibet. The Mongol story of a wicked monk who was repeatedly killed yet persisted in attacking the monastery served as the inspiration for this shrine. According to local lore, this evil monk’s hand and head are housed in the monastery’s temple.
Monasteries offer a serene atmosphere for those looking for a quiet and spiritual experience with themselves and the Divine Power. If you are looking for such places, these above monasteries are just for you.