Famous Buddhist Monasteries in India : Art & Culture | UPSC Notes

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Famous Buddhist Monasteries in India : Art & Culture | UPSC Notes

A group of monks who have taken religious vows live in the monastery, which is a building or group of houses. Sanghas, which means “Orders of Disciplines,” are at the centre of Buddhist sacred life. Buddhists think that monks’ spiritual quests help the whole society and that their rituals bring prosperity and safety.

Hemis Monastery

Hemis Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery (gompa) of the Drukpa Lineage in Hemis, Ladakh, India. It is 45 km south of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir State, on the west bank of the Indus River. The annual Guru Padmasambhava festival, held in June and July, is the most famous event at this monastery.

Tabo Monastery

Tabo Monastery is in the Tabo village of Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. It was founded in 996 CE, the Tibetan year of the Fire Ape, by Rinchen Zangpo (Mahauru Ramabhadra), a Buddhist translator, on behalf of the king of the western Himalayan Kingdom of Guge, Yeshe-O.

Tsuglakhang Monastery

• Tsuklakhang Palace or Tsuklakhang Royal Chapel and Monastery is a Buddhist palace monastery in Gangtok, Sikkim, India.

Namgyal Monastery

Namgyal Monastery is the personal monastery of the 14th Dalai Lama. It is in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, HP, India. It was built by the third Dalai Lama Gendun Gyatso in either 1564 or 1565. Namgyal Monastery was renamed in honour of the female long-life deity Namgyalma in 1571.

• The Namgyal website says that it has almost 200 monks from the four great monastic lineages in Tibet.

Thiksey Monastery

• It is a gompa (monastery) affiliated with the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. • It is located on top of a hill in Thiksey village, approximately 19 kilometres east of Leh in Ladakh, India. • It is noted for its resemblance to the Potala palace in Lhasa, Tibet. • It is a twelve-story complex and houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords.

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Tawang Monastery

The Tawang Monastery is the biggest monastery in India and the second largest in the world after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. It is in the city of Tawang in the district of Tawang in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Bylakuppe Monastery (Namdraling Monastery):

It is the largest teaching centre of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. It is in Bylakuppe, which is in the district of Mysore in the state of Karnataka. It is home to a sangha community of more than 5,000 lamas.

Shashur Monastery

Shashur Monastery is a Buddhist monastery of the Drugpa sect in Lahaul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, in northern India. It was built in the 17th century by Lama Deva Gyatsho of Zanskar, who was a missionary for Nawang Namgyal, the king of Bhutan.

Mindrolling Monastery:

It was started by Rigzin Terdak Lingpa in 1676 and is one of the six most important schools of the Nyingma School in Tibet.

• It is in Zhanang County, Shannan Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, China. It is on the south side of the Tsangpo river, about 43 km east of the Lhasa airport.

Ghum Monastery:

• It is in Ghum, which is in the state of West Bengal.

• This school was set up by Lama Sherab Gyatso in the year 1875 AD.

• It is part of the Gelukpa or Yellow Hat group and is known for a statue of Maitreya Buddha that is 15 feet (4.6 m) tall.

Kye Gompa Monastery

Kye Gompa Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Lahaul and Spiti district, India. It is on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,166 metres above sea level, close to the Spiti River. It is the largest monastery in the Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for Lamas.

Dhankar Monastery

Dhankar Monastery is a Buddhist temple in India’s Lahaul and Spiti district. It is the second highest in the world after Ki Monastery and has been an important centre of Buddhist learning since the seventh century. In the 17th century, Dhankar Monastery was the capital of Spiti.

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Lingdum Monastery

Lingdum Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, India, about an hour’s drive from Gangtok. It is close to the town of Ranka and follows the Zurmang Kagyu school.

Alchi Gompa Monastery

The Alchi Gompa Monastery is in the town of Alchi in the district of Leh in Ladakh. It is run by the Likir Monastery.

Historians say that it was built by Guru Rinchen Zangpo between the years 958 and 1055 AD.

Phugtal Monastery

Phugtal Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in the remote Lungnak valley in the Zanskar area of Ladakh in northern India. It is one of the few Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh that can only be reached on foot.

• It was built around a cave in Ladakh that people thought Sages, Saints, and Scholars went to around 2500 years ago.

Shankar Monastery

Shankar Monastery is near Leh in Ladakh. It is a daughter establishment of Spituk Monastery and the home of the Abbot of Spituk, the Venerable Kushok Bakula, who is the senior incarnation lama of Ladakh because of his long lineage and personal authority.

Matho Monastery

Matho Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery on the bank of the Indus river, 26 kilometres southeast of Leh in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, in northern India. It is part of the Saskya order. It was started in the 1600s by Lama Tugpa Dorjay.

Nako Monastery

The Nako Monastery is in the Himachal Pradesh district of Kinnor. It was built in the year 996. It is one of the oldest monasteries on the historical routes that Lamas have taken for hundreds of years. It was founded by Lochen Rinchen Zangpo in the first half of the eleventh century.

Rumtek Monastery:

It is also called the Dharmachakra school. It is a gompa, which is a Buddhist building for study, lineage, and practise. It is near Gangtok, Sikkim, and was built by Changchub Dorje, the 12th Karmapa Lama, in the middle of the 1700s.

Pemayangtse Monastery

The Pemayangtse Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Pemayangtse, near Pelling in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim, 110 km west of Gangtok. It was planned, built, and started by Lama Lhatsun Chempo in 1647. It is one of the oldest and most important monasteries in Sikkim, as well as the most famous.

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Gonjang Monastery

It is in the Indian state of Sikkim and was started by Tingkye Gonjang Rimpoche in 1981.

Karzok Buddhist Monastery:

• It is a Buddhist monastery in the Drukpa lineage. • It is near Korzok village in the Leh District of Ladakh, India. • It was founded by Kunga Lodro Ningpo about 300 years ago. • It is on the northwestern bank of Ladakh’s Tso Moriri lake, which is one of the highest lakes in the world for its size.

Bharatpur Buddhist Monastery Complex, West Bengal

The Structural Complex of the Buddhist Monastery was found in the continuation of a large stupa, Black and Red ware pottery, and sculptures found 50 years ago at the same site in West Bengal.

• Buddhism in West Bengal: This area was a stronghold of the ancient Buddhist Mauryan and Pala governments, when the Mahayana and Vajrayana schools thrived. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Buddhist Kingdom of Mrauk U ruled over South-Eastern Bengal.

• Importance of Excavation: The site was first dug up 50 years ago, between 1972 and 1975, when researchers from the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASI) found a Buddhist Stupa there.

Digs can help us find out how Buddhism spread in the South West Bengal area.

The find is also important because black and red ware pottery from the Chalcolithic Age made it possible for people to live in villages along the river Damodar.

The religious nature of the place comes from the complex, while the secular nature comes from the settlement.

The found stupa is big compared to other Buddhist sites in the state where smaller tribute stupas were found, such as Karnasubarna in Murshidabad, Moghalamari in Paschim Medinipur, and Jagjivanpur in Malda.