5 incredible Buddhist monasteries in India

1. Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh

Tawang Monastery is located in Tawang city of Tawang district in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. It is the largest monastery in India and second largest in the world. Tawang Monastery is known in Tibetan as Golden Namgey Lhatse. The monastery is three stories high. It is enclosed by a 925 feet (282 m) long compound wall. Within the complex, there are 65 residential buildings. The library of the monastery has valuable old scriptures, mainly Kangyur and Tengyur.

2. Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim

Rumtek Monastery also called the Dharmachakra Centre is located in the Indian state of Sikkim near the capital Gangtok. This colourful, grand old monastery dates back to the 9th century in Tibet but was reestablished in the early 1960s in India. The monastery holds plenty of activities, including chanting and ritual services in the mornings and evenings. There are also impressive masked dances during the annual group meditation (Drupchen) in May/June, and two days before the Tibetan New Year (Losar).

3. Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh

This monastery is located on top of a hill in Thiksey village, approximately 19 kilometres east of Leh in Ladakh, India. It is a twelve-story complex and houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords. The place also has a museum which has preserved ancient relics and art during the Buddhist period.

4. Nyingmapa Monastery, Bylakuppe

This monastery is the largest teaching centre of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. Located in Bylakuppe, part of the Mysuru district of the state of Karnataka, the monastery is home to a sangha community of over five thousand lamas. The monastery was established by the 11th throne holder of the Palyul lineage.

5. Hemis Monastery, Ladakh

Hemis Monastery is located in Ladakh, India. Hemis Monastery existed before the 11th century. The monastery was re-established in 1672 by the Ladakhi king Sengge Namgyal. The annual Hemis festival honouring Padmasambhava is held in early June. It is also the site where young Lamas get training for royal monasteries.