Tabo Monastery – Historic Treasure of India

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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.

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History

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)

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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

Dhankar Monastery – Spiti Valley

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Dhankar Monastery, also referred to as Dhankar Gompa, is a Buddhist temple situated in the district of Spiti & Lahual in Himalyan region of Northern India. It is situated in Himachal Pradesh state. This Monastery is situated on a cliff between Kaza and Tabo. An amazing view of the Spiti river can be seen from here. This Monastery has a statue of ‘Vairocharan’ displaying four statues of Buddha seated in the 4 directions, along with ancient paintings, murals and texts.

The Dhankar Gomba is over 1000 years old and is connected to the rest of the valley through a Motorable road, which is good for small vehicle only. There is a new monastery in the small village of Shichilling below the old monastery. The old monastery is associated with the Great Translator, Rinchen Zanggpo, and its complex comprises a number of multi-storey buildings perched together.

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History

Dhankar was the traditional capital of the Spiti Valley Kingdom during the 17th century and has some features dating back to the 12th century. Dhang or dang means cliff, and kar or khar means fort. Hence, Dhankar means fort on a cliff. It was the place of the early ruler of Spiti, the Nonos, who has the right to promote the government lands nearby and were necessary to keep the fort in repair. They also gave justice to the people and were famous for their harsh penalties until the British replaced them. This Monastery is also widely known as the Lha-O-pa Gompa. This Monastery belongs to famous Gelukpa order.

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Daily worship is done at the Dhankar Monastery by the temple monks at early morning and everyone is granted permission to take part in the holy worship. It also includes Mantra Chanting which is done under the control of monks of Monastery.

Above Dhankar is a fresh water lake about 1.5 km from the village at a height of 13500 ft acting as the source of water supply for the village. Set amidst lush green pastures, the lake offers a perfect idyllic camping site but locals do not allow camping at the lake anymore.

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Moorang Fort – Ancient Fort in Kinnaur

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The picturesque village of Moorang, which is located in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, is a gorgeous place for a holiday. It is situated above the left bank of Satluj and about 39 kms from the most important village of Kalpa.Beauty of Moorang is generally defined by the spectacular apricot orchard and million other spectacular things. One can simply relax on the old fort built by the Pandavas on the banks of the Satluj river as the cool breeze caress the soul or head to Lipa- Asrang sanctuary which is spread across 40 Km of area inhabiting Brown bear, Musk deer, Himalayan black beer and many more.

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Moorang Fort

This fort is very mysterious and attractive because of its location. It is believed that the fort was built by Pandavas. Is situated on the left bank of the Satluj on a high hillock and very near to the Morang village.  The wooden extending beams and wooden pillars of the Verandah of the top floor indicate that there was another floor at the top and now it is totally broken. The entrance door and the doorframes have a few wood carvings.

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The local deity is Urmig and there are three structures dedicated to the deity each existing in Thwaring, Garmang and Shilling. Generally these are empty as the ark of the deity remains in the fort. On a sacred day the ark is taken to the above named places. The ark has got 18 ‘mukh’, made of silver, gold and brass. The 18 mukh represents the 18 days of the great epic Mahabharat.

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Moorang sets itself apart from all the other villages and towns of Kinnaur. People out here are very friendly and helpful, simple and innocent. They are very hospitable and welcoming. Their basic lifestyle, free from the bondages of modernization is simple yet fulfilling.

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