Tabo Monastery or Gompa as it is called by the locals is the oldest monastery in India and the second oldest in the world. The monastery is the second oldest in the world after the Potala Palace in Tibet. Established in 996AD, the monastery is a divine work of art where peace and tranquility combine to fill the souls of all those who enter with the heart of a child.
Tabo Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is one of the oldest continuously functioning monasteries in the Himalayas, dating back to the 10th or 11th century.
Table of Contents
Tabo has two monasteries, the old and the new. It’s very easy to understand which one is new and which one is old. The old monastery is house in a mud complex with paintings and murals made out of natural colours and has been preserved the way it was for over 1000+ years.
Today in the present day in a world after Covid-19 the experience is still divine but you have to find your space for peace by picking the correct time to go and meet God.
Unlike other monasteries in the world, Tabo is still true to its self with all that the lamas do to enrich the experience of everyone who visits this holy shrine. You’ll get free chai served by ladies from the village which is just the start of of the game. From meeting and interacting with a lama for a life changing talk to even a monthly community meal which is served to devotees who come from all over.
One such community lunch was what we managed to capture while in Tabo back in June 2022 where over a 100 mothers from around Spiti valley had come to Tabo for a spiritual retreat. It’s the harmony, peace and ultra organised drill with such a large number of people that actually caught our eye.
The service for the food which was the lunch meal was done by children not more than 13 years of age. Something which is very unlikely in any part of the country. To see young children serving food to their mothers in a temple.
The Tabo Monastery complex consists of several temples, stupas, and other structures. The main temple, known as the Tsuglag Khang, features exquisite Buddhist artwork and murals that are considered to be among the finest in the world. The monastery also has a large assembly hall, residential quarters for monks, and a library that houses a valuable collection of ancient Tibetan scriptures and manuscripts.
Simple yet tasty food in the form of a juice, slice of watermelon, some curd and soya to get the energy level high on a hot and sunny day in Tabo.
The simplicity of life and the community bonding that the villages of Tabo and all of Spiti Valley have for each other is unmatched. It’s a spiritual bond that connects these people together in this high altitude cold desert.
Because just like the age of the monastery, these humans have been living in the middle of nowhere without any outside communication till the late 2010s. Tabo might have transformed into a tourist hub since the dawn of 4G during Covid but its still very much the a spiritual abode which hasn’t been highlighted in the age or social media.
If only we are travellers or tourist reconnect to our spiritual calling it will make a world of a difference to what we term as modern life without the existence of God.
So if you’re reading this post and have reached till here. You are definitely someone looking for some kind of healing in life. Head to Spiti valley and Tabo with the core intent to build your spiritual life and not your social media life.
Tabo Monastery is renowned for its role in preserving and promoting the ancient Buddhist teachings. It has been a center of learning and meditation for centuries, attracting scholars and practitioners from all over the Buddhist world.
The monastery is open to visitors, although photography and filming inside the temples is prohibited. It is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims seeking a spiritual experience in the serene and peaceful surroundings of the Spiti Valley.