Buddhism is a prominent religion with roots in North-Eastern India. The religion—founded by Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Buddha—has spread its wings to different continents since its inception. With over half a million followers, Buddhism is one of the major religious groups in the world. For years, people from different parts of the world have been visiting Buddhist monasteries in India for spiritual direction and solace.
Tawang Monastery Rumtek Monastery, and Namdroling Monastery, amongst others are some of India's most famous Buddhist monasteries. They attract lakhs of visitors every year. So, if you are looking for the best monasteries in India, this list will be ideal for you. Check out.
1. Tawang Monastery
The large Lord Buddha statue, stunning prayers wheels, and mesmerizing Thangkas are the best parts of the Twang Monastery. It was built in 1680 and has a painting of goddess Palden Lhamo, gifted by monk Dalai Lama. Located in Arunachal Pradesh, it is the second largest monastery in Asia.
The oldest Monastery in India, it has a residential building for monks, a library, museum, and a school for primary education. If you decide to visit the Monastery, do not forget to go to popular tourist attractions like Gudpi, Chong-Chugmi ranges, Tawang Chu River and Tawang valley.
2. Rumtek Monastery
This Tibetan Buddhist monastery is located 24 kms away from Gangtok and is the largest Monastery in Sikkim. The structure of the monastery is inspired by Tibetan architecture, and it is situated amidst majestic hills and beautiful waterfalls. The prayer hall of Rumtek Monastery is massive and is decorated with splendid murals and statues.
3. Namdroling Monastery
Namdroling Monastery is situated 30 kms from Coorg. It is often called the golden temple because of its generous structure. It was built in 1963 by Tibetan monk Pema Norbu Rinpoche. Interestingly, the monastery is the largest centre globally that teaches Nyingmapa, a lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
The prayer hall of the monastery has three golden statues of saints Padmasambhava, Sukhayami and Amitayus. There is also a 60-feet-long statue of Lord Buddha, as well as vibrant Tibetan paintings.
4. Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery is situated at an altitude of 12,000 feet. It is the largest Tibetan monastery in Ladakh and the most visited place by travellers who vacation in the Union Territory.
It was established in the 11th century and was renovated in the 17th century by King Sengge Namgyal. The monastery hosts one of the most famous and vibrant festivals in the Leh region. Every year in June, the monastery conducts a local festival dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava, where the arts and crafts from the residents are showcased.
5. Thiksey Monastery
Thiskey Monastery is a 12-storey building that is located on a hill, 19 kms away from Leh. The monastery has a unique construction, where the actual monastery is at the top of the hill and the chief Lama’s residence is at the foot of the monastery.
The architecture and structure of Thiksey Monastery is similar to that of Potala Palace of Tibet. Interestingly, the shrine has a 49-ftLordBuddha statue, which was built to commemorate the 14th Dalai Lama’s visit to Thiksey Monastery in the year 1970.