Explore The Unexplored: Thyangboche Monastery

2, Nov 2022 | nepaltraveller.com

In addition to being a holy site for many pilgrims, Thyangboche is a popular tourist attraction due to its stunning natural surroundings.

Thyanboche Monastery is the largest and most famous Tibetan Buddhist monastery situated at an altitude of 3,867 m on the main Everest trekking route from Lukla to Everest Base Camp. This monastery, also known as Dawa Choling Gompa, is renowned for its breathtaking surroundings and exquisite interior. It is perched on a hill, at the confluence of the Dudh Koshi and Imja Khola rivers, with Mt. Ama Dablam forming a stunning backdrop to the location.

This monastery has a close bond with its mother, the Tibetan Rongbuk Monastery. It is the first Vajrayana Buddhist celibacy monastery under the Nyingmapa tradition, founded by Lama Gulu in 1916. During the initial year of the establishment of Thyangboche Monastery, nuns came, studied and practised Buddhism in the monastery as Vajrayana Buddhism does not restrict gender. After a while, the nunnery in Devoche, a modest convent run by Thyangboche, was constructed for the nuns. 

In 1934, an earthquake destroyed this monastery. It was restored by Umze Gelden, Lama Gulu’s successor, with the help of Ngawang Tenzin Norbu. The renowned artist Kappa Kalden painted exceptional murals. Additionally, the monastery had to be restored after a fire on January 9, 1989, started by an electric short circuit and destroyed all of the priceless antique texts, murals, statues and wood carvings. Likewise, the 2015 earthquake was catastrophic; it suffered minor damages, which were immediately recovered later.

The Sagarmatha National Park’s “Sacred Sites Trail Projects” draws many tourists and ends at Thyangboche Monastery. Prayer flags and antiquated mani stones encircle the Thyangboche Monastery. Five colours are used on the flags to represent the five elements of Buddhism: earth, wind, fire, water, and consciousness. There are 60 monks living in the monastery. Numerous tourists and hikers stop by the monastery every year to receive a blessing from the Lama. The most important festival of the Sherpa community in Thyangboche Monastery is the Mani Rimdu festival. 

According to the Tibetan calendar, it is celebrated on the tenth lunar month, which falls during the autumn season. The tradition of this festival is passed to Thyangboche from the Rongbuk Monastery. This festival lasts for 19 days and involves several ceremonies and meditation. The festival features 16 dances. The dances represent Buddhist victory over the ancient ‘Bon’ religion. They believed the dance performed during the Mani Rimdu was sacred and not for ordinary entertainment. 

In addition to being a holy site for many pilgrims, Thyangboche is a popular tourist attraction due to its stunning natural surroundings. It is the perfect viewpoint for magnificent mountain ranges like Mt. Everest, Mt. Nuptse, Mt. Lhoste, Ama Dablam, Tawache, and Thamserku. The Thyanboche Monastery trek is one of the Everest region's shortest and easiest trekking routes. Along the trip, you can spot endangered musk deer, yak, and thar. Additionally, this region has a large number of herbal and therapeutic plants. There are also small stupas, prayers flag and available of affordable hotels, restaurants, and lodges around Thyangboche Monastery. You can see the monks practising Buddhism and the beautiful paintings on the wall. Because of the mild weather and the colourful Mani Rimdu Festival, October and November may be ideal months to visit Thyaboche Monastery.

(Photo Credit: Heaven Himalaya, Honey Guide, Tsemrimpoche)

Penned By: Utsav Pun

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