It’s not just the temples but also the stunning monasteries in Manali that deserve a visit.
Along with Hinduism practices quite commonly, Buddhism is widely followed as well. It is common knowledge that a Buddhist population exists in regions such as Lahaul and Spiti, Dharamshala and Kinnaur, and Ladakh. Some even refer to Dharamshala as Little Tibet, but the spread of this religion is limited here and extends to Manali and other areas.
That’s probably why Manali and the areas nearby have several monasteries that stand out for their architecture. Enter inside these complexes to get a taste of the history and culture of Buddhists through conversations with the many monks spotted here in red robes.
Let’s learn more about the monasteries that are a must-visit here.
- Himalayan Nyinmapa Buddhist temple
At the top of the list is the Himalayan Nyinmapa Buddhist temple, which has two storeys. Located on the prime Mall Road that witnesses large crowds, it is one of the most exquisite temples ever seen, built in pagoda style. The most striking aspect of this monastery is the towering statue of Lord Buddha and the wall paintings and frescoes inside. Spend some time here and visit early in the morning or evening to catch the monks meditating. Trust us, it is a sight and a moment that words can’t do justice to!
- Dechen Choekhor Mahavihara monastery
About 50 km from Manali in Kullu, this monastery is located within the Sarabai village. Constructed in the 16th century, this monastery is one of the most beautiful structures and is the mother monastery of the Mahavihara Gompa in Tibet. It is believed that the Kullu valley is counted among the pious places of Chakrasamvara (the highest yoga tantra) and was also visited by Guru Padmasambhava. Today’s structure was built only in 2000 and took several years to complete. Visitors come here from far and wide to take a look at the Shakyamuni Buddha that is gigantic – it is 31 feet tall.
- Von Ngari monastery
This monastery is one of the most unexplored sights in Manali, but it is worth a visit. As per legend and folklore, this ancient structure was built way back in the 15th century by the second Dalai Lama to spread the message of Buddhism. He inducted about 50 monks as a part of the monastery; since these monks hailed from the Ngari region of Himachal Pradesh, the place got its name and became known as the Ngari Monastery.
Head here to enjoy a moment of peace and solitude away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You could also spend some time meditating here and practising mindfulness if you are not as devoted to spirituality, worry not. The Von Ngari monastery offers several vantage points to check out stunning vistas of the surrounding mountainscape and lush forests. All in all, it is a visual treat.
- Dhakpo Shedrupling Monastery
Just about 29 kilometres from Manali is the Dhakpo Shedrupling Monastery in Kullu, which also goes by the Kais monastery. Its picturesque location is much talked about, especially with the gurgling waters of the Beas River flowing nearby. Step inside the complex to get stunned by the frescoes and murals inside. Outside, the verdant valleys will play muse if photography is your passion. Make sure you ask the monks for help to take you around to help you understand more about its history and architecture. Only a few know this monastery doubles as a boarding school and monastery for the Buddhist community.
Now that you know all about the monasteries to visit in and around Manali, it’s time to plan a visit soon with your friends and family. Wondering where to stay? There’s no better place than Bookmark Resort Manali, the best five-star property in Manali. Apart from its luxurious accommodation, it also offers tranquillity since it’s set amid nature. Wellness is also another critical component of this resort, so come by and get nourished from the inside out. The best luxury resort in Manali awaits you.