Lahaul and Spiti are remote twin valleys on the Indo-Tibet border. Here a stronghold of Buddhist culture can be seen from the Buddhist monasteries and marvelous gompas, dotted on the mountains. Just near is the Dharamshala town, which is the center for pilgrims, scholars and tourists. The present Dalai Lama is settled in Dharamshala after his exile. There are more than thirty Buddhist monasteries in Lahaul and Spiti, which can be visited during religious tours in Lahaul & Spiti. The Guru Ghantal monastery is known to be oldest gompas of Lahaul. It lies on the right bank of Chamba river. The structure with pyramidal roofs is adorned with wooden carvings. Idols of Padmasambhava and Brajeshwari Devi and numerous lamas are established inside the temple. What is singular about the temple is that the idols here are made of wood and not of clay, as in the feature in other monasteries. The Kardang is another famous monastery, located near the Bhaga river, above the Kardang village. Kangyur and Tangyur volumes of Buddhist scriptures are available in Bhoti, in the large library of this monastery. The Shanshur monastery is known for its incredible wall paintings, depicting the siddhas of Buddhism. It is a worth visiting place in the religious tours of Lahaul & Spiti.
Kye monastery is the biggest ancient monastery of Spiti valley. It is located above the Kye village. Beautiful paintings and scriptures of Buddha and various goddesses are available inside the monastery. Dancing, singing and blowing on pipes and horns are the main lama activities practiced here on the special occasions. Religious training is also provided here.
Just 25 km from the Kaza village is the Dhankar Monastery, which is home for 100 lamas. Here the statue of 'Vairochana' is there, which shows four complete Buddha figures, seated back to back. The paintings and sculptors in the monastery reflect a rich Budhhist culture. Thang Yug Gompa is another religious place of Kaza. The murals of the Tabo monastery are carved in a similar style like the paintings of Ajanta caves of Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Tashigang Gompa, Tilasangh Monastery are other most visited Buddhist sites of Lahaul and Spiti. Overall, the religious tours in Lahaul & Spiti will bring you close to the Buddhist culture.
The Triloknath temple lies on the left bank of Chenab river. Though it is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the six armed idol of Avalokiteshvar is established inside the temple. Avalokiteshvar is a Buddhist deity and Guru Padmasambhava installed the idol. The ancient shrine has a fine wooden carving in the pattern of Lalitaditya of Kashmir. A stone image of Nandi is placed in the centre of the compound. The holy place is a popular pilgrimage center for both Hindus and Buddhists. In the month of August, a three-day Pauri festival is being celebrated here. It should be an important stopover in the religious tours in Lahaul & Spiti.
Mrikula Devi temple is a 15th century temple, built by the ruler of Chamba. Exquisite wooden carvings and Mahishasuramardini idol are the real attractions of the temple. Losar Festival is another important festival of Lahaul and Spiti. It is celebrated in the beginning of new year. On this occasion, people light lamps in front of the deity Kimshu. The exotic Spiti fair is known for its tradition of matchmaking.
Last Updated On: 2011/07/07