India is among the hottest tourist destinations in the world, with its wide range of spots to choose from. The diversity in culture as well as demographics makes it a treasure chest of art, heritage, history and cuisine. The subcontinent is also a favourite among the more spiritual travellers since it hosts a huge number of religions that finds its origin in several centuries and millennia B.C. Talking about religions in India, the most popular is Hinduism, but Buddhism is no less. In fact, Sri Lanka is not the only nation to be a centre for the Buddhist religions. There a quite a few extraordinary Buddhist monasteries in India itself – it’s a wonder why they haven’t yet gained the attention it deserves! A possible reason might be the secretive and secluded nature of these spiritual monuments. Keep reading to know more about some isolated Buddhist monasteries and we are here to give you a touch of these heavenly places as you read along.
Here’s the list of top 5 Secluded Buddhist Monasteries in India:
1. Key Gompa
Key Gompa, a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery is located at an altitude of about 4166 metres above the sea level. It can be spelt as Ki, Kye, or Kee. From variations in its spellings to its distinct historical background, Key Gompa is worth climbing almost 500 metres to get a view of the soothing panorama.This monastery is nothing short of a survivor. At first, it was attacked by Mongols in the 17th century, then sacked in 1820 during the war between Ladakh and Kulu, and also damaged by Dogra army in 1841 and the list is very long. Despite the long list, it stands to be the home to nearly 250 monks. Also, it sets an example of the 14th-century monastic architecture. One can witness beautifully decorated assembly hall and cells for a number of monks.
2. Phugtal Gompa
Located in a remote valley called the Lungnak Valley in the south-eastern region of Zanskar, the Phugtal Gompa is another beautiful isolated Buddhist monastery. It has been a place for meditation, gatherings, learning and teaching for a very long time. As its name signifies ‘through caves’, it owes its legacy to known teachers and scholars who resided in the cave. It has been built onto a Cliffside, depicting a honeycomb. You will get a lifetime experience if you visit the monastery. The only way to reach Phugtal is trekking on the Padum-Manali route. Along with the adventurous trek, it provides you with a chance to stay with around 70 monks at once as there are no guest houses or hotel settlements around.
3.The Komik Lundup Tsemo Gompa Monastery
The Komik Lundup Tsemo Gompa monastery has loads of reasons to be visited. Located at 4587 metres, more than 15000 feet above the sea level, it provides you with the most peaceful auras. The monastery has the Maitreya Buddha, a 32-metre tall statue, believed to be the symbol of world peace. Moreover, it has a fortified castle made of slanted mud walls, exhibiting magnificent and awe-inspiring scriptures, murals and artworks belonging to a bygone era. Interestingly, along with being calm and composed, everyone is so cheerful here that even the Lamas from the Monastery perform dances during the festival season. The peace and beauty here are so apparent that no one would wish to leave the place, one they have set foot on it.
4. Diskit Gompa
Diskit Gompa is the oldest and the second largest Buddhist Monastery in Ladakh after the Thiksey Monastery. It runs a school for the Tibetan children, giving away its part to the society. Diskit Gompa is an abode to about 100 monks. Diskit has an edge over all the other monasteries in Ladakh. The monastery has the statue of the crowned Buddha (Cho Rinpoche) in the prayer hall, a huge drum and several images of fierce guardian deities. It is a site that is worth visiting and also to boast about (if you’re an Indian that it!). The festival of the scapegoat is not something one can miss on. But unfortunately, it is celebrated during the winter season which marks heavy snowfall in the region. So only the people from the nearby villages are able to attend the festival celebrations.
Not secluded in terms of location but once if you’re on a tour to monasteries around, you cannot miss The Pemayangtse Monastery. This is the oldest and premier monasteries of Sikkim. The result of the efforts of Lama Lhatsun Chempo in 1705, it stands 140km west of Gangtok.The main purpose for which this monastery was built was to be an adobe to ‘pure monks’ which does not necessarily imply purity in character but meaning “monks of pure Tibetan lineage.” If you have an annual off on your list, then Pemayangtse can give you an experience full of pleasure and maybe a silent talk with the heavens. Monasteries are a must-see item on any travel lover, whether or not you are a spiritual person. These monasteries may give you that much-needed peace and serenity that you have been hungry for, away from the busy world of work and activity. Even if you’re a sceptic regarding its spiritual benefits, one should simply try and seek out these hidden gems merely to experience the quiet and tranquillity they provide.