Lying in the barren mountains of Spiti, is one of the oldest monasteries in India, Tabo monastery. This ancient place of worship is fondly called the “Ajanta of the Himalayas” due to its various frescoes and wall paintings. Lying above the monastery, in the mountains, are various caves that the monks use for meditation. The monastery itself has priceless Thankas, statues, frescoes and murals.
The monastery is accessible by road and a winding path lead you to the doorsteps of the monastery. Tabo is the oldest monastery in Spiti, built in 996 A.D. by the Buddhist King Yeshe-O. Over the millennia, the monastery has been witness to many events, including Mongol invasions, shifts in the seats of power in the Spiti Valley, wars between the two neighboring kingdoms of Spiti and Ladakh, the British Rule and the Indo-China border disputes.
When you enter the monastery, you encounter the Main Temple, the older temples, and the new temples. The fittings of the monastery, which are the frescoes and the wall paintings and the Thangkas, represent the Gelugpa traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. These beautiful pieces of art are hundreds of years old and can only be described as awe-inspiring. When you stand in front of these ancient walls, you will feel the enigmatic history of the monastery wash over you and you will have an enlightening experience.
Tabo Monastery is a very important cultural and educational center. In 1996, at the millennial anniversary of the monastery, the Dalai Lama performed the Kalachakra ceremonies. Various festivals are celebrated here too, most prominent of which is the Chakhar Festival. In the early days, the Kadampa school was created to teach Gelugpa traditions and the Serkong School, established in 1999, for students in classes from 1 to 8.
Tabo Monastery has rightfully earned the moniker of “Ajanta of the Himalayas”, and is also one of the most beautiful monasteries you could ever visit. The ancient grounds you stand on have a thousand years behind them. The winds of winter whisper in your ear the thousand stories of centuries past, you just have to listen quietly,