Tabo is a small village, situated on the left bank of river Spiti in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh. It is 50 kms short of Kaza, major town in Spiti Valley, while travelling from Reckong Peo to Kaza. Flanked on either side by hills, it houses one of the most important Buddhist monasteries that are regarded by many as only next to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet.
Tabo Monastery, also known as the ‘Ajanta of the Himalayas,’ is one of the most popular monasteries in the Lahaul and Spiti Valley and was founded more than a millennium back in 996 A.D. This ancient structure stands on the barren, cold, and rocky desert of the Tabo valley at a dizzying height of 3050 meters above sea level. This untouched beauty has preserved the glorious heritage, traditions, and culture of Buddhism through the passage of centuries.
Tabo Monastery was founded by the buddhist king (and royal lama) Yeshe O’d in 996 A.D. A renovation inscription says it was renovated 46 years later by Yeshe O’d’s grandnephew, the royal priest Jangchub O’d. These royal patrons, the kings of the Purang-Guge kingdom, were descended from the ancient Tibetan monarchy. Their ancestors migrated to west Tibet in the 10th century. By the end of the 10th century their territory stretched from Ladakh to Purang and included all of western Tibet (ancient Zhang Zhung). Successive members of this dynasty built many monasteries along the trade routes linking the far corners of their kingdom.
The Nine Temples:
The Temple of the Enlightened Gods (gTug-Lha-khang)
The Golden Temple (gSer-khang)
The Mystic Mandala Temple / Initiation Temple (dKyil-kHor- khang)
The Bodhisattva Maitreya Temple (Byams-Pa Chen-po Lha-khang)
The Temple of Dromton (Brom-ston Lha khang)
The Chamber of Picture Treasures (Z’al-ma)
The Large Temple of Dromton (Brom-ston Lha khang)
The Mahakala Vajra Bhairava Temple (Gon-khang)
The White Temple (dKar-abyum Lha-Khang)
The unique beauty of its art and its pivotal historical role in the transmission of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and culture in the 10th and 11th century makes Tabo Monastery an historically significant site. The main temple preserves an extraordinary wealth of documentation of the history and culture of the period