Recog.by Tourism Department HP Govt.
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As the dew drops slips into the shining seas, the teachings of the Buddha The Enlightened One ( c 563 - c 483 BC) sought for the individual to merge with the universal life. He could thus attain nirvana and end of cycle of birth rebirth and suffering. In Himachal Pradesh , a part of the world where natural beauty abounds and where legends seems to merge with verifiable history, there lies a necklace of Buddhist Monasteries,gompas etchedacross its landscapes. And no measure of money can valuethis treasure , for its significance is something past compare. Some gompas go back to the time when Buddhism was a shadowless sapling in the region. The seed for its rise in the area had been sowed in the seventh century A.D. when the Tibetan King Songsten Gompo was influence by two of his wives- Wen Cheng from China and Bkrikuti Devi from Nepal. A century later , King Troson Detsen ( Khri-Sron-Idebtsan 755-797 A.D ) embraced the way of Buddha. And from India came master like Santarakshita and the famous teacherand tantric Padmasambhava. The ninth century witnessed a break in the spread of Buddhism , but the tenth and the eleventh centuries witnessed a grand revival and it was an age of great teacher . With the passage of time, Buddhism became the major religion of Tibet, Ladakh, Lahaul, Spiti- and its influence other regions like Kinnaur. There are manasteries which are barely a few decades oldand came into being after 1959, when His Holiness the Dalai Lama left Tibet along with several followers and came to reside in India.

Tracing The Monasteries Itinerary( MAY TO OCTOBER) 21 Nights / 22 Days.

The itinerary starts from Shimla the state capital of Himachal Pradesh, where you can reach by air, rail or road. It continues by road and ends at Mcleodganj, the seat off the Tibetan Government - in Exile and the residence of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama

Day 01) DELHI

Arrive Delhi. Met on arrival and transfer to Hotel. . Full day at leisure.

Day 02) DELHI

After Breakfast full day sightseeing Delhi.

Day 03) DELHI TO SHIMLA

Leave for Shimla . By road 350 Km. Reach Shimla by night . Check into Hotel

Day 04) SHIMLA

Full day sightseeing Shimla.

Day 05) SHIMLA TO SARAHAN

Leave for Sarahan ( 2165 mts height and appox.170 kms from Shimla) . En-route visit the small 19th cebtury Buddha temple at Rampur and Druf Pa temple at Kilba ( 95 Km from Rampur) on the left bank of the river Sutlej. Located half way up a high mountain side , the road to Sarahan winds Pine Tress that givesway to stately oaks and rhododendrums. The fields and the orchads surround the small village with their slate roofed houses. Here is the famous Bhimakali Temple regarded as one of the fifty one sacred Shaktipeeths.

Day 06) SARAHAN TO SANGLA

Leave for Kinnaur's Baspa Valley also known as Sangla Valley. Its appox. 75 Km from Sarahan.

Day 07) SANGLA

Explore full day Sangla.One of the most picturesque valley of Himachal. Among its scenic setting lie sprinkled habitation of the noble tribes. Thses tribals holds onto age old pagan Hindu Buddhist beliefs . Some village worth a visit includes Sangla ,Rakchham, Kamru and Chitkul.

Day 08) SANGLA TO RECONG PEO

Leave for Recong Peo ( 2292 mts height , 38 km from Sangla valley) . After visiting the Baspa valley four Buddhist temples in the picturesque village sapna ,Barau, Sangla district headquaters and has recently built gompa where His Holiness and Dalai lamaconducted a Kalchakra ceremony in 1992. The ancient settlementof Kalpa with spectacular views, lies just above Recong Peo. Here is the Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar gompa said to have been founded by Rinchensang po (950-1055 A.D)

Day 09) RECONG PEO TO NAKO

Leave for Nako (2950 mts height and 107 Km from Recong Peo . 7 Km on a side road bifurcating near Yangthang the village is built around an emarald like lake. On its northern side are four Buddhist temples with stucco images and murals. Within the village, two temples house large prayer wheels. Near Nako is a rock where a footprint like impression is ascribed to Padmasambhava. Enroute to Nako, you can make Diversion for : LIPPA: (14 km fro Jangi) where the gompa has three temples. Of these two house the Kangyur and Tangyur scriptures while the third is the Goldang Chakodar. KANUM: Is a complete monastic village and dates back to time of Rinchensang-po . Kanum means A place of sacred books. POOH: Is on the Highway has Drug Pamonastery.

SPITI REGION

There are several monasteries over Spiti's rugged terrain. Most affiliated to the Geluk-pa sect. In Spiti's introvertive culture, for centuries, life has revolved around these monasteries.

Day 10) NAKO TO TABO

Leave for Tabo ( 3050mts height and 65 kms from nako) . Founded in 996 A.D by a gread teacher Rinchensang-po. Tabo is renowned for its breathtaking murals and stucco images and is often called The Ajanta of the Himalayas.The largest monastic complex in Spiti , the old section has 9 temples, 23 chortens ,a monk chamber and a nun chamber. There are several caves adorned with frescoes and contemporary structure too.

Day 11) TABO TO KAZA

Leave for Kaza ( 3660mts height and 47 kms from Tabo) . This is Spiti sub-divisional headquarters and has a gompa . Enroute from Tabo, visit Dhankar gompa ( 3870 mts height) . This rests high over the valley and is stupendous example of local architecture.

Day 12) KAZA

Based at Kaza visit the KI monastery ( 4116 mt height and 12 km from Kaza). This century old gompa is a labyrinth of rooms and corridoes-and at one time also acted as a fort. It house valuable thangkas and offers a panoramic view. Also visit the small gompa at kibber ( 4205 mts height and 9 km from Ki monastery). Kibber has the distinction of being the highest permanently inhabited village of the region.

LAHAUL REGION

DAY 13) KAZA TO KEYLONG

Leave early for Keylong( 3550mts height and 188 km from Kaza). A rugged road over the Kunzum pass ( 4551 mts height) leads to Keylong the district headquater of Lahaul-Spiti. If time allow one can visit en-route the gompas at Damphug Chokur , Labrabg and other places.

Day 14) KEYLONG

a) Guru Ghantal (8km from Keylong) : High over the confluence of the rivers Chandra and Bhaga, this is regarded as the oldest monastery in Lahaul. Both Padmasbhava and Rinchensang-Po were associated with it. This enshrines a black stone image of the goddess Vajreshwari a wooden image of the Buddha and marble head of Avalokitesvara. Also said to be sealed in the Dark airless room is the visage of the demon Tsedak who once ravaged the area till he was captured.

b) KARDANG (5 Km from Keylong): One of the most reversed places of the Drug-Pa sect, it has a large library of scripture and is also the repository of some exquisite thangka painting, musical instrument like lutes, drums and horns and old weapon.

c) SHASHUR( 3 Km from Keylong): Founded by Deva Gyatsho, this 17th century gompa is famous for the festival of Shashur Tseshe held every June /July when monks dressed in colourful costumes and elaborate masks perform the devil dance .The monastery is known for the images and the paintings it houses

MANALI

Day 15) KEYLONG TO MANALI

Leave for Manali ( 2050 mts height and 115 km from keylong) , Travel over Rohtang pass (3980 mts height) and visit four recently built monasteries in and around this tourist center.

Day 16) MANALI

Full day sight Manali.

Day 17) MANALI TO REWALSAR

Leave for Rewalsar ( 132 km from Manali) . Reach Rewalsar check into hotel.

Day 18) REWALSAR

Full day explore Rewalsar. Like a dark jewel on a wooded hillside, the sacred lake of Rewalsar is approached via Mandi. It is identified as the Sahor of yore. Legend has it that Rewalsar was the place from where Padmasambhava left for Tibet to spread the word of Buddha in the 8th century A.D. There are three monasteries around the lake . Though rebuilt, the oldest, one belongs to the Nyingma pa order and appropriately, its central image is Padmasambhava. Adorned with prayer flags, the lake has tiny island of floating reed in which the spirit of Padmasambhava is said to be embodied.

Day 19) REWALSAR TO MCLEODGANJ

: Leave for Mcleodganj ( 1930 mt height and 160 km from Rewalsar). A former colonial retreat ., Mcleodganj rose to prominence after the large scale exodus of Tibetans from their homeland in 1959.It is the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and , with a backdrop of the majestic Dhauladhar mountains , the Tibetans Government in-Exile has been based here for over three and a half decades . With traditional architectural desings drawn from Tibet, the impressive Namgyal manastery is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and houses larger-than-life images of the Buddha, padmasambhava and Avalokteshwara.

Day 20) MCLEODGANJ

Spend more time at monatery and visit the tibetan institute of per

Day 21) MCLEODGANJ TO DELHI

Departing from Mcleodganj is an optional . One can travel through train from Pathankot ( 93 from Mcleodganj) or by road ( 526 from Mcleodganj) or by Flight which is at Gaggal airport ( 21 Km from Mcleodganj).

Day 22. ) DELHI

Reach Delhi. Transfer to Airport for international Flight

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