While stuck in the hectic city life, we all crave a serene getaway. Besides, what could be more blissful than quietly escaping to the mountains? The tranquil mountains are home to many scenic spots immersed in ancient history and culture. Among these snow-covered peaks and lush vegetation are some well-known Buddhist monasteries in India. The elegant statues, vibrant murals, prayer bells and sacred chants present an ambience that exudes calming aura and positive vibes.
If you’re in search of some peace and solidarity, pay a visit to these fascinating Indian monasteries! You can plan a relaxing train trip to these peace-inducing places in India.
Some Must-Visit Monasteries in India
India’s diverse cultures, heritage and rich history are reflected in its religious abodes. If you wish to experience the country’s spiritual side, Buddhist monasteries should be on your travel bucket list! Take a tour to famous cultural centres to explore the Buddhist culture, find inner peace or attain spiritual mindfulness. Situated among glorious mountains and basking in their vibrant culture and history, these serene abodes are a must-visit for everyone!
Following are the eight prominent Buddhist monasteries in India you must visit:
Hemis Monastery, Ladakh
The Hemis monastery is among Ladakh’s earliest and most magnificent monasteries, positioned at 12,000 ft above sea level. According to legends, the monastery came into existence before the 11th century and was reinstated in 1652. Located around 50 km from the city of Leh, this ancient shrine is appreciated for its old-world charm. Many old relics, such as antique statues, sacred thangkas, and so on, are stored safely inside the monastery. The annual Hemis festival is a major attraction during the June-July months as it features lively masked performances and various other cultural programs. You can even choose to stay and eat simple food at the monastery and consider joining the Hemis Spiritual Retreat event hosted by the monks.
How to reach: The nearest railway station, Katra, KEA is 692 km away.
Ghoom Monastery, West Bengal
Sokpo Sherab Gyatso, a Mongolian astrologer and monk set it up in 1850. He was the monastery chief until 1905. The monastery is noted for the 15 ft tall statue of the Maitreya Buddha. It is also called the Yoga Choeling monastery and falls under the Yellow Hat sect or Gelukpa. Ghoom monastery is among the most visited tourist spots in West Bengal. The monastery’s magnificent interiors especially draw visitors to the place and make it one of the most visited shrines in West Bengal. It is tastefully decorated with thangka on walls, old-fashioned bells, drums, etc.
How to reach: The closest railway station, Ghum, GHUM, is close to the monastery.
Mindrolling Monastery, Uttarakhand
Khochhen Rinpoche founded the Mindrolling Monastery, famous for its massive,185 ft tall Buddha Stupas. The huge Stupa houses many shrine rooms showcasing relics, murals, and Tibetan art. It is associated with Tibet’s Nyingma school of Buddhism, and now it is renowned as the best centre for Buddha’s teachings and principles. Another great Buddhist Institution, Nagyur Nyingma College, is also included in the Mindrolling monastery. Additionally, a 35 m tall gold Shakyamuni Buddha Statue is also present in the monastery, which is dedicated to the Dalai Lama. Moreover, the scenic gardens and the eye-catching murals all over the place provide a lovely ambience to the whole complex.
How to reach: The Nearby Dehradun railway station, DDN is just 9 km.
Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh
This monastery, situated closer to Bhutan’s border, is the second most extensive monastery in the world. It gives the appearance of a fort with ravines on either side. This largest Indian monastery, lodged at 10,000 feet above sea level, boasts rich decorations with colourful illustrations and sculptures, especially in its main prayer hall. You should not miss the early morning prayer ritual with Buddhist monks who adorn red and yellow robes and chant prayers. The Torgya festival, which takes place in January, is a major event.
How to reach: Tezpur, TZTB is the closest railway station, 335 km away from the monastery. Permits are compulsory during your trip to Arunachal Pradesh.
Tabo Monastery, Himachal Pradesh
The monastery, located at 10,007 feet above sea level, is surrounded by the mystical Lahaul and Spiti valley. The Buddhist king Yeshe-Ö, popularly known as the Royal Lama, set up the monastery in 996 AD. Later, Jangchub O’d, the grandnephew of Yeshe-Ö and the royal priest of that time, renovated it. The monastery has twenty-three chortens, nine temples, a monk’s room, and a nun’s room. But the key attraction is the hand-dug meditation caves in the mountain that are believed to be the shelter for monks during harsh winters. The surreal, faintly-lit rooms and ancient artworks inside the monastery add to the charm of the shrine.
How to reach: The Kalka railway station,KLK is the nearest at 452 km.
Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim
Also called the Dharma Chakra Centre, the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim was initially built in Tibet during the 9th century and subsequently reinstated around the early 1960s in India. The monastery is presided over by his holiness Gyalma Karmapa the XVI, who is the chief of Tibetan Buddhism’s Karma Kagyu order. The vibrant and impressive monastery houses an enormous prayer hall accessorised with breathtaking murals, figures and ancient thangkas. The monks conduct rituals and customs of the Karma Kagyu lineage.
How to reach: The New Jalpaiguri station,NJP is the closest at 120 km.
Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh
It is perched at an altitude of 11,800 ft close to the Indus valley. The Thiksey monastery was set up in 1430 AD by the Gelukpa Order of Buddhism. It is admired for its rustic charm, picturesque landscape and distinct architecture, with several buildings placed in ascending order of importance. The valleys encasing the whitewashed monastery and hilly landscape make it exceptionally stunning. A 49 feet high statue of Maitreya Buddha and the Lakhang Nyerma temple dedicated to Goddess Dorje Chenmo are the key attractions of the monastery.
How to reach: Kalka, KLK is the closest railway station, 600 km away.
Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery, Karnataka
It is situated in Bylakuppe in Karnataka’s Mysore district and is recognized as India’s second-largest Tibetan institution. The Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery is a prominent teaching place of Tibetan Buddhism’s Nyingmapa lineage. It was constructed as a unit of the Sangha Community in 1963 under His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche. It houses many gold statues of Buddha and domes throughout the complex. The grand prayer hall is ideal for anyone looking for relaxation through meditation.
How to reach: The Mysore railway station,MYS nearby is located at 90 km.
It’s time to take a break from your routine life and enjoy the tranquillity at these Buddhist monasteries in India! These eight monasteries exhibit Buddhist aesthetics, represent architectural prowess, and are truly scenic spiritual retreats.
So, why not plan a train tour of some magical places? The fun of your train journey will be multifold when you use RailMitra’s services. It is an excellent AI-backed platform offering many online train tracking tools, including PNR Current Status verification, Train Running Status, Seat Availability, Train Schedule, Trains Between Stations, Fair Enquiry and more. Train travel with the RailMitra is all you need to plan and proceed with your journey with ease!