India is magical, full of treasures, and geographically stunning. This is the country that has snowy mountains, dense forests, barren yet mesmerising deserts, and flowing rivers that can cleanse any soul, give directions to any a lost child, and make one feel at peace with themselves. This is the country where a short trip is more than enough to regain your lost energy and feel connected to your senses again. People including celebs from all across the globe travel to India to find their share of serenity and peace.
There are many places in India that are absolute hotspot for travellers, wonderers, and vacation lovers. Beaches, hill stations, historical cities, wildlife, bird sanctuaries, are mostly the popular tourist destinations that fascinate one and all. However, if you are bored with the regular travel destinations and looking for lasting peace, equilibrium, and a place to break free for the conventional, than a Buddhist monastery is the place you must visit.
Monasteries are mostly located in surreal natural locations in the midst of quiet making them the perfect destination for anyone who needs some time alone and wishes to find their inner peace. Here are 11 monasteries around India where your search for peace might end.
#1. Hemis Monastery, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir:
Re-constructed in 1672 by King Sengge Namgyal, this monastery is located 45 km away from Leh, Ladakh. Known for the Hemis festival, the best time to visit Hemis Monastery is June-July. This monastery is considered to be the wealthiest and most significant monastery in Ladakh region.
#2. Tawang Monastery, Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh:
India’s largest and world’s second largest, Tawang Monastery is magnificent. Located in the midst of snow covered mountains for trekking lovers Tawang is a must visit. This monastery also happens to be the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama, making it a significant pilgrimage for all. From its location to its construction to its decoration, Tawang Monastery is where you must go.
#3. Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery, Coorg, Karnataka:
Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery is located in an isolated location in Mysore away from the hustle bustle of city life. This home of more than 5 thousand lamas has a teaching centre and a hospital. The ideal time to visit Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery is February and March.
#4. Tabo Monastery, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh:
One of the oldest monasteries is India, this monastery was founded in 996 AD. Tabo Monastery is surrounded by small and big caves making it perfect for anyone looking for some quiet time. Stunning painting and wood work are some other attractions for tourists. For learning Buddhism, Tabo is an ideal place. Good time to travel to Tabo Monastery is May to October.
#5. Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir:
Thiksey Monastery is huge and located at a height of 11,800 feet. This monastery is 12-storey complex and covers one side of a hill making it a spectacular architectural piece. Painted in white, Thiksey monastery looks like a fairytale city covered by snow. This is a must visit for tourists and peace seekers.
#6. Phugtal Monastery, Zanskar, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir:
Phugtal Monastery is constructed on the mouth of a huge cave and it looks surreal. The most interesting thing about this monastery is that the only way to reach here is by foot. The essential supplies are transported to the monastery by using horses, mules, and donkeys. July to September is the best time to visit this monastery. For trekkers, nature lovers, and solitude seekers, this is the best monastery in India.
#7. Enchey Monastery, Gangtok, Sikkim:
Surrounded by pine forests and located in Kanchenjunga mountain range, Enchey Monastery is beautiful. This monastery hosts Chaam Festival that draws many locals as well as tourists. The best time to visit this monastery is June and October.
#8. Ghoom Monastery, Darjeeling, West Bengal:
Located in Darjeeling, West Bengal, Ghoom Monastery is one of the most important monasteries in this region for the fact that it has some of the ancient Buddhist books and scriptures preserved in a library.
#9. Kye Monastery, Spiti District, Himachal Pradesh:
Kye Monastery is more than 1000 years old and has faced through multiple attacks by Mongols. It has been reconstructed many times and as a result it looks like a fort now. The architecture of this monastery is influenced by Chinese architecture making it distinct and different from any other monastery in India. May to October is suitable to visit this monastery.
#10. Diskit Monastery, Leh, Jammu and Kashmir:
From Diskit Monastery, Nabra valley looks absolutely breathtaking. This monastery is influenced by Mongol mythology and has many interesting tales to share with tourists. Home of Festival of the Scapegoat, the best time to visit Diskit Monastery is June to September.
#11. Lamayuru Gompa, Jammu and Kashmir:
This monastery is located in the Srinagar-Leh highway and though it is one of the significant monasteries in this region but at present most parts of this monastery is in ruins. The annual Yuru Kabgyat draws many to the monastery and May to September is the best time to visit.
Off to pack my bags now!
Images Courtesy: Flickr