Must Visit Buddhist Heritage Sites in Nepal

Jul 24, 2020 21 Minutes
Must Visit Buddhist Heritage Sites in Nepal

Lord Buddha was born in Nepal; therefore, Nepal is where Buddhism was born. Buddhism is a religion also a philosophy, it is rather described as a “way of life” or “a spiritual tradition”.

Siddhartha Gautam (Buddha) was the founder of Buddhism who was born in Lumbini, achieved Nirvana or enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, taught his first Dharma (cosmic law and order) in Sarnath, and received Parinirvana (nirvana after death) after his demise in Kushinagar; which makes these destinations most significant pilgrimage site for Buddhists followers in the world.

Likewise, Karma (action or doing) and reincarnation are highly believed in Buddhism. There are three main sects with several sub-sects of Buddhism which are Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Vajrayana Buddhism.

The main teachings of Buddhism are The Four Noble Truths which are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.

The Three Universal Truths: Everything is impermanent and changing, impermanence leads to suffering and making life imperfect, and the self is not personal and unchanging.

Similarly, The Noble Eightfold Path states the right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi. The rules that one must follow in this religion refrain from harming living beings, refrain from sexual misbehavior, refrain from taking that which is not freely given, and refrain from wrong speech like lying, indolent babble, immoral dialogue.

About 10% population practice Buddhism in the world and there are numerous countries following Buddhism on Earth whether it is an entire nation or a small community but Buddhism is spread all over the world in the present.

The main countries that practice Buddhism are in Asia like Nepal, Tibet, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Macau, China, Vietnam, Northern Mariana Islands, Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Laos, Mongolia, Cambodia. But Buddhism is surely extended to some parts of Europe, America, Australia, and other continents.

In like manner, Nepal is a secular state and most of the Nepalese follow Hinduism, though Buddhism is prevailing In Nepal. Even though we Nepalese proudly state that “Buddha was born In Nepal”, Buddhism started in Nepal during Kirant Dynasty and started extending since the rule of Emperor Ashoka through Indian and Tibetan proselytizers.

Moreover, till the date there are thousands of Buddhist shrines in Nepal from ancient to new monuments, UNESCO Listed World Heritage Sites, big beautiful monasteries to small stupas, Chortens/chaityas and caves, and among which it is believed that there are still undiscovered shrines here especially in the Himalayan region. Below are given the must-visit Buddhist destination/shrines for Buddhist pilgrims as well as travel enthusiasts as these places provide you positivity, refreshment, opportunity to learn and experience Buddhist culture, and peace from within.

1. Bouddhanath Stupa is the largest Buddhist shrine in Nepal. It is also a UNESCO listed World Heritage site. Located near the center of Kathmandu, this stupa is the must-visit place once you are in Nepal. The monastery is also the most important Tibetan monument outside Tibet. A visit to Bouddhanath Stupa is the best option for those who are enthusiastic to learn and experience Tibetan Buddhism, history, and culture.

This stupa is said to be built during the 5th century and has been renovated several times between the centuries. The present stupa was built after the massive 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Every portion of this beautiful stupa represents symbolic significance the base, dome, square harmika, spire, and pinnacle represent the five elements. 

The 13-level tall golden spire represents the 13 levels you will have to go through to achieve Nirvana. The 4 pairs of eyes of Lord Buddha mean that the god is watching us and the wiggly nose which symbolizes 1 in Nepalese language means equality among all. Likewise, the best view of this world’s largest circular pagoda, seen from the top as it looks like Mandala which seems to look even more mesmeric at night due to all the fairy lights and butter lamps. The monument is covered all the way 360 degrees by praying wheels which is spin and revolved making wishes clockwise and there are many small Chortens (stupas) outside the main dome. 

At the entrance of the main shrine, there are two monuments of warriors on the elephant guarding the stupa. You will get to see many monks and pilgrims praying and chanting Mantras as well as there are many souvenir shops and restaurants in the area. Revolve around the shrine spinning praying wheels, lighten a butter lamp, and make praying to the Lord; we assure you will feel calm and positive energy will intervene you and the visit to the Bouddhanath Stupa.

2. Swayambhunath Temple which means “self-occurring” as its name states is a temple believed to be self-risen. According to legends, Kathmandu Valley used to be a lake and when Manjushree visited, he saw a beautiful lotus with a large illusion of Buddha. 

He plucked the flower then immediately a huge stupa appeared which was named Swayambhunath also known as the Monkey Temple. Located on the Norwest side of the valley on top of a hillock this monastery is truly a piece of wonder. Since the stupa is located at the top of a hill, the city view seen from the top is mesmerizing. 

There are 365 steps to reach the main temple which indicates every day of years. There are many monuments of Lord Buddha and other pieces of stuff that reflect Buddhism. On the entrance, there are two lions guarding the temple. After climbing all the way up, there is a huge “Vajra” right in front of the main stupa. The main stupa has a white Dom, somewhat the structure is similar to the Bouddhanath Stupa. 

The 13-level tall golden spire represents the 13 levels you will have to go through to achieve Nirvana. The 4 pairs of eyes of Lord Buddha mean that the god is watching us and the wiggly nose which symbolizes 1 in Nepalese language means equality among all. Similarly, this place not only represents cultural significance but also the landscape view and the alluring nature it has will astonish you. 

The monuments there like the sleeping buddha, the museum, and many small Chortens will amaze you. Apart from the monastery, there is a Saraswoti Temple and Monk School just behind the Monkey Temple. This temple has beautiful architecture and it is believed if you light up a butter lamp and pray for being able to study with pure heart, the wish is granted. This temple is revered by Lord Saraswoti who is the goddess of education. 

This UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site is a must-visit Buddhist shrine as you will not only learn about Buddhism but also experience the beautiful landscape, encounter monks as well as monkeys (this is why the shrine is called Monkey Temple) which are completely harmless unless you tease them. 

Check out our Explore Nepal Tour of 12 Days to experience the Heritage Sites of Kathmandu.

3. Namobuddha Monastery is one of the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world. This temple is located 38 kilometers east of Kathmandu in the Kavre district situated on top of a hill.

Namobuddha is very popular for cultural significance as well as the peaceful environment blessed by Mother Nature. According to the legends, 6000 years ago there was a King named Maharath who ruled in Panauti. He had three sons named Dasyembo, Lashyembo, and Mahasatwo also known as Ngingdui Tshenpo or Bodhisatwo. His youngest son Mahasatwo is the previous life of Lord Buddha. 

One day the three princes went hunting on the hill of Namobuddha, while they were hunting, the princes saw a tigress that was devouring her just-born cubs due to starvation. He sent his elder brothers to search for prey but they took a long time and didn’t find any flesh to feed the tigress. Then, the youngest prince offered the tigress his own body believing that it would be a sin if a mother eats her own child. After he performed such a huge sacrifice it is believed that the gods offered a flower shower to his reminisces.

Likewise, the king made a Chaitya in remembrance of his son on the land where his son's reminisces were buried. This shrine has been renovated many times after that including by Lord Buddha himself. Similarly, this place is very peaceful and perfect for those who are interested in meditation or learning Buddhism.

Namobuddha also is known as Thrangu Tashi Monastery is also a Buddhism school for monks, so visiting here will provide you the opportunity to interact with the monks. This enormous beautiful monastery reflects Buddhism culture as well as the landscape here will make the trip worth the visit. 

The panoramic view of the Himalayas including Mt. Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Mt. Langtang, Mt. Everest, and many others have seen from the top will astonish you. This trip is perfect for the enthusiast who is keen on Buddhism, loves to meditate, and seeking to travel somewhere far from the pollution and hustle and bustle of the city.

4. Lumbini - The birthplace of the commencer of Buddhism, the beautiful and peaceful Lumbini is one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Located 203 kilometers west of Kathmandu Valley, Lumbini is a big mesmerizing garden in the Rupandehi District of Nepal. 

The main temple located here is the Mayadevi Temple. This shrine is a sort of museum where the ancient relics are preserved and protected which includes the exact place where Lord Buddha was given birth. 

As myths state, Mayadevi (Buddha’s mother) was traveling from her house in Kapilvastu to her parent’s home in Devadaha, she was on her way when she felt like she went to labor at the garden of Lumbini which was later named Mayadevi Garden. 

Queen Mayadevi bathed in the Puskarini pond before she gave birth. She gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama under a bodhi tree and he was cleaned in the same Puskarini pond by two dragons. Legends believe that immediately after his birth, Siddhartha Gautama had said “This is my last rebirth” and took seven steps under which the lotus flower was bloomed. Likewise, the Queen died seven days after his birth, and then his foster mother became his aunt Mahaprajapati (Mayadevi’s younger sister). 

Lumbini which means lovely is perfectly eloquent to its name, having monasteries in each and every sight with the perfect combination of natural beauty this place is a truly must-visit place not only for enthusiasts of Buddhism but also for those who love meditation and are keen to visit peaceful and gorgeous destination.

Apart from Mayadevi Temple, there are many exquisite places to visit in Lumbini, like Eternal Peace Flame which glows 24 hours every single day. It was brought from the US as a celebration of International Peace Year and is the symbol of peace and fraternity in the world. Likewise, many countries have built Buddhist temples revered to Lord Buddha in the area which are all unique and gorgeous like Myanmar Golden Monastery, Royal Thai Monastery, Dae Sung Shakya (Korean Temple), and many others. Similarly, World Peace Pago is another must-visit location if you are in Lumbini.

5. Kopan Monastery - Located in the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley on top of Kopan hill situated north of Boudhanath, Kopan Monastery is a mesmerizing Tibetan Buddhist monastery. 

This stupa was founded by Late Lama Thubten Yeshe during the 1970s. Home to 360 monks it is now, previously used to be home of astrologer to the King of Nepal. Kopan Gumba is a Gelung monastery which means a school to teach and learn Buddhism, the monks aging 7 to 60 years old come to this monastery from all over the world.

As said by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, “The places on this earth where you can receive education in Lama Tsongkhapa’s pure teaching are very few. Therefore, this monastery is considered very precious”. 

The people wanting to learn Tibetan Buddhism in the Kopan Monastery should inform us in advance so that the seats can be reserved and secured. Likewise, the significance of the shrine is Lord Buddha’s mind as looks alike to Buddha, the top is similar to his crown, the four pairs of eyes in four directions and nose-shaped 1 that symbolizes unity among all and the steps represent the path to the enlightenment, and the Dom alike to every other Buddhist stupa. 

This stupa is one of the most important and, most beautiful stupas in the world. It is not only popular for cultural significance and architecture but also for the spectacular landscape. There is a big gorgeous garden with fountains and lots of flowers and plants, covered wholly with Tibetan praying flags and praying wheels, as well as the area, is full of small stupas or Chortens signifying the body of an enlightened being. 

You could either drive or hike through the lush green forests to visit the shrine. Similarly, the view of the landscape, Kathmandu valley, and the panoramic Himalayan view including the scene of Mt. Langtang, Mt. Gauri Shankar, Mt. Langtang, Ganesh Himal, and many others seen after reaching the monastery are spectacular. 

In addition, there is also a nunnery named Kopan nunnery which is also absolutely stunning as was founded by the late Lama Thubten Yeshe too, very nearby to the Kopan monastery and you could visit here too. This is a must-visit destination for meditation lover and those who wish to learn Mahayana Buddhism as well as nature and culture lover because what could be better than spinning the prayers wheels, meditating and making prayers in a beautiful place listening to the mantras “Om Mane Padme Hum” chanting by the monks.

6. Tengboche Monastery also is known as Thyangboche Monastery or Dawa Choling Gompa is a unique, picturesque, and most significant and largest monastery in the Khumbu region. 

Situated in the lap of the world’s highest mountains at the altitude of 3,876m altitude above sea level, amidst the lust pine, rhododendron and azaleas forest, and Sagarmatha National Park (A UNESCO listed World Heritage Site), this stupa has the most sole features contrary from other gumbas. 

Tengboche Monastery is located in the beautiful Tengboche village in Khumjung of Khumbu region which was built in 1916 by Lama Gulu and has been renovated many times since then. This stupa is the first Nyingmapa monastery where Vajrayana Buddhism is studied and practiced which is one of the many things that make this shrine unique. 

Also, within the area, a nunnery is situated for both sexes. Since the monastery falls on the way of many treks, travelers visit the stupa and receive blessings from residing Rinpoche for a successful trek. Likewise, you could also encounter Himalayan Monal, Musk Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, and other animals and the backdrop view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Ama Dablam, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Nuptse, Mt. Tawache, and Mt. Thamserku seen from the stupa is absolutely spellbinding. 

Everest viewpoint trek from Himalayan Trekkers takes you to Tengboche Monastery experience it first hand. 

Located in a beautiful environment having stunning structure, covered with praying flags, praying wheels, and mani stones, this beautiful gompa is a must-visit Buddhist shrine in the world especially for those who are fervent to learn Vajrayana Buddhism. Likewise, the main festival celebrated here is the Mani Rimdu Festival which is basically a festival celebrated by Sherpas on the 10th lunar month of the Tibetan calendar to rejoice the founding of Buddhism by Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava by gathering and celebrating by singing, dancing, and performing rituals. 

This shrine is considered a very important pilgrimage site and is strongly believed that if you visit the monastery with pure heart, light butter lamps, revolve the praying wheels then it will indeed provide your soul inner peace and grant you the inner power of triumph for anything in life.

7. Pharping is a small Newari town located 16km southwest of Kathmandu also known as Phamting or Yanglesho. This place is often referred to as a town of monasteries as it has several shrines like Neydo Tashi Chöling Monastery, Benchen Sungrab Gyunpel Khang, Rigon Tashi Choeling Monastery, and many others but among them, Asura Cave and Yanglesho Cave are the most popular ones as these caves are said to be where Guru Padmasambhava Rinpoche attained enlightenment. 

The follower of Tibetan Buddhism believes that Pharping is as holy as Bodhgaya and Lumbini. The Gorakhnath Temple is taken as the main entrance to Asura cave and Yanglesho cave is situated on the left side of Seshnarayan Temple. These two caves have a distance of about 500m as Asura cave also known as Upper Yanglesho Cave is located on the upper part of the hill and Yanglesho Cave also known as Lower Yanglesho Cave is located on the lower part of the hill. 

There is a very narrow tunnel that connects these two caves from which Guru Padmasambhava used to travel. These caves are said to be self-risen. Likewise, inside Asura cave, there are three images of Guru Rinpoche in the middle, Yangdak Heruka to his right and Vajrakilaya to his left. 

Guru Padmasambhava practiced Vajrayogini Sadhana (meditation) here 2000 years ago, as well as received enlightenment in this cave. There is also a handprint of Guru Padmasambhava inside the cave, and according to mythology, this handprint was made by him to show that he received enlightenment in the cave. 

Likewise, the crack in the ceiling of the cave is said that after Guru Padmasambhava attained enlightenment, he came out cracking the ceiling of the cave. In addition, the Vajrayana Buddhism followers believe that pilgrims shall visit Asura cave, Yanglesho cave, and Vajrayogini Temple which is a temple revered to Vajrayogini (a Buddhist deity); to receive the sacred blessing of Vajrayana Buddhism deities. 

Likewise, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche leads several seminars and retreats every year in this monastery. Pharping, a holy place where Guru Padmasambhava Rinpoche attained the level of a Mahamudra Vidyadhara is a very significant and must-visit destination and not only for Vajrayana Buddhism but also to experience its beautiful landscape, lush green forests rich in flora and fauna, the local town as well as a spellbinding panoramic view of the Himalayas including Mt. Langtang, Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Gauri Shankar, and others.

8. Mustang, the last nomadic forbidden valley is a mystical place located in the Trans Himalayan Region which is known as the desert of Nepal. Mustang means "Plain of Aspiration" which is divided into two regions: Upper Mustang also known as Lo and Lower Mustang simply known as Mustang. 

This cabalistic land is popular for having the most eccentric features distinctive to any place in the world like unique geography, abundant caves, and numerous monasteries. 

Similarly, this place is also known as “Tibet of Nepal”. This land is a very important Buddhist pilgrimage site, as it is rich in Buddhist shrines that include myriad caves and stupas. Likewise, it is said that there are around 1000 caves in Mustang discovered and undiscovered among which are monastery, hiding places made by inhabitants during war, place to keep the dead body, and home of locals, differing throughout the centuries; which are still being discovered. 

Talking about the caves and monasteries, there are many popular and renowned monasteries which are given below:

  • Lo Gekar monastery is the oldest monastery in Upper Mustang which was founded by Guru Padmasambhava Rinpoche, and this shrine is where Tibetan Buddhism was officially started.
  • Jampa Lhakhang is the oldest Shakya monastery that was built during the 14th century. This gompa is a unique three-storied stupa that reflects the rich culture of Lo Manthang via 108 different shaped and sized paintings of gold and silver turquoise, coral, and gemstones.
  • Thubchen Gumpa is a 15-century old monastery full of elegant paintings of Buddhist guardian on walls and roofs that reflects Buddhist culture. It is a typical stupa built by mud and brick located in Lo Manthang.
  • Ghar Gumba was built in the 8th century by Guru Padmasambhava Rinpoche and is a very important Buddhist temple located at the alleviation of 3,950. It one of the oldest temples in Upper Mustang and not only has cultural significance but also rich in flora and fauna.
  • Namgyal Monastery is the largest monastery in Mustang situated on top of a rocky sandy hill. It was found during the 15th century and reflects Shakya Buddhism which can be acknowledged by the gray stripes outside that characterizes the strength of Lord Buddha’s teaching, wisdom, and compassion.
  • Charang Monastery was built by Bsum Grub Dorje in the 16th century AD. It is a very significant Gelung sect monastery located at the alleviation of 35560 m above sea level. The inner walls of the shrine are painted with murals that are revered to the Medicine Buddha Mandala deities.
  • Kag Chode Thupten Samphel Ling Gompa, which means "monastery of the place to stop and develop concentration on teachings of Lord Buddha", is also known as Kagbeni Monastery and Red Gompa as it is located in Kagbeni. This stupa is one of the most important Shakya Pa monasteries which was founded in 1429 AD.
  • Jwala Mai is also known as Salambar Dolamebar Gompa or Mebar Lhakhang Gompa is a fire gompa that is extracted from Himalayan water resources that has a natural gas present which shows water burning. This eternal flame represents a union between two opposite elements and is holy for both Buddhism and Hinduism religions.
  • Marpha Monastery is also known as Tashi Lha Khang Gompa or Samteling Gompa which was built around 200 years ago that belongs to Karma Pa sect of Buddhism. This monastery located in Marpha is revered to Amitabha, Vajrapani, Avalokiteswora, and Guru Padmasambhava Rinpoche.
  • Luri Gompa is a cave monastery that belongs to the Nyingma-Kargyupa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Inside the gompa, there are Chortens and statues of Buddhist deity and this monastery is incredibly beautiful for a cave with mandala paintings all over the ceiling and paintings and Thangkas reflecting Nyingma Pa Buddhism, as well as a big bell with paintings.
  • Nyiphuk Cave Monastery is the largest cave monastery in Upper Mustang. It is also known as Nyphu Gompa and Lo Nifu Gumba which is a Nyingma Pa sect Buddhist monastery beautifully painted and consists of religious belongings.
  • Chungsi Cave also known as Rangchung Cave is a naturally built significant Buddhist shrine in Upper Mustang. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava Rinpoche meditated here during the 8th century. On the walls of the gompa, there are many paintings of Deities and self-risen monuments of Buddhist Gods and Goddesses.
  • Tashi Chhoeling Gompa is a 571 years old monastery located in Ghiling which was founded by Lhobo Ghenchen Lama. This gumba is a Sakya Pa monastery specialized Ngor Pa sub-Sect of Sakya Pa sect. Rituals like Mandala Puja, Dhukpa Chesi, Kangso Chyachchha, Ketor Puja, Molam, Kangso Puja, etc are performed in this monastery.
  • Lo Geme Shad Drup Darkeling Gompa is located in Ghami which was built in 1414 AD by Sonama Lodo. This stupa belongs to the Sakya Pa sect and consists of statues of Buddha, Ngor Chhen Kunga Sangpo, Buddha Pravamandal, Sakyamuni, Bajra Satwa Dorjesemba and Midhukpa.
  • Lo-Ghyakar Gompa is a Ngingpa sect stupa that dates back to 1200 years old. This monastery is located near Manang which is beautifully constructed with paintings and statues of Buddhist deities.
  • Chhyode Gompa, Lomanthang is a Sakya Pa sect monastery that was established in 1757 AD. Inside the stupa, there are beautiful paintings and Thangkas as well as the statues of Dorje Sonnu, Dorje Dhhang, and Sange Thukpa.
  • Chhujung Gompa is located in Lo Manthang and belongs to the Sakya Pa sect. This stupa is truly picturesque and very popular because a grant annual festival of Mustang ‘Tiji Festival’ also takes place in this Buddhist Temple.
  • Thukten Dharkelin Gompa is a 1000 years old Buddhist shrine revered by Guru Rinpoche, Thuwa Jhyatoma, Jujhan Dhyoma, and Dhaknema. It is located in Namgyal and belongs to the Ngor Pa sub-sect of Sakya Pa sect and religious rituals such as Keto Puja, Kumari Puja, Bakchhyum are performed here.
  • Garghu Dhejing Chhyoling Gompa is a monastery located in Chhoser that belongs to Nyingma Pa sect Buddhism. It is believed that the footprint of Guru Padmasambhava Rinpoche is printed on a stone in the stupa which makes it more sacred. This gumba is 500 years old and is devoted to Guru Rinpoche, Dorje Chhyang, Chhewang Lhindu, and Seiji Shhyamjo.

9. Humla is often known as the hidden gem of Nepal is a remote district of Nepal yet its spectacular natural beauty and unique cultural diversity that includes Hinduism, Buddhism, Bon, and Animism attract people. It is located in the northwest region of Nepal which borders Tibet. 

Humla is a significant religious site for both Hindus and Buddhists. This beautiful destination far from modernization is truly a beautiful creation of Mother Nature that consists of many crystal-clear lakes and rivers, all-mighty Himalayas, and is rich in Buddhist monasteries. Below are some monasteries of Humla: -

  • Ralling Gompa is the oldest and most significant monastery in Humla located on the laps of the Himalayas. It belongs to Nyingmapa sect Buddhism and is revered by Guru Padmasambhava Rinpoche likewise, one of the most popular festivals of Tibetans “The Saga Dawa Festival” is also celebrated here.
  • Halji Renchiled Gumba is a 1000 years old Buddhist monastery that belongs to the Kargyupa sect. This shrine is a two-storied stupa with monuments and paintings of Buddhist gods and goddesses and is of great importance to locals.
  • Zang Phelgye Ling Monastery is one of the three monasteries of Limi Valley. It is a Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism monastery that was built during the 13th century.
  • Weltse Rinchen Ling monastery is the central monastery of the three monasteries in Limi. It was established during the 10th century by Rinchen Sangpo and belongs to Sakya Pa sect of Buddhism.
  • Til Kunzom Dhongag Choling is a monastery built in the 12th century which is another one of three stupas in Limi Valley. The main monument of this shrine is a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha called Speaking Stuate (Gsung Byon Ma). It is believed that whenever the widespread disease occurs in Limi, the monument takes the illness itself.
  • Namkha Khyung Dzong is one of the main Nyingma monasteries in the world. This Buddhist shrine was built in 1906 AD. This shrine is also known as Yalbang Monastery and is the largest monastery in Humla and over 500 monks live here learning and teaching Buddhism.
  • Besides these monasteries, there are several gorgeous Buddhist shrines in the Humla region of Nepal like Yansi Monastery, Chimik Gumba, Nyotad Gumba, Kunjuma Gumba, Tungar Chyojong Gumba, Tsang Dojam, and others that have a huge importance in Buddhism and are sacred for Buddhist pilgrimages.

10. Dolpo is located in the mid-western part of Nepal and is one of the most remote regions of Nepal. Dolpo is really in another world, far from modernization where natural beauty enjoys its true form and diverse culture is intact preserved. Dolpo is very momentous for Buddhists, according to legends, Dolpo is a Ba-Yul (Hidden Land) which was explored by Guru Rinpoche. Drutup Yeshe was the one who first introduced Buddhism among the people of Dolpo valley. There are several Buddhist stupas here and some important shrines and given below:

  • Ribo Bhumpa Monastery is a Nyingma Pa sect stupa that was founded more than a thousand years ago by Jigdre Nyima Gyaltsen and Lama Tenzin Targye. It is located Dho Tarap Village of Dolpo and is constructed in the shape of a vase known as Bumpa or Bhumpa which one of eight sacred symbols of Buddhism.
  • Yangtsher Gompa is a beautiful monastery located in Nisal Village, Upper Dolpo. This stupa is the oldest monastery in Dolpo which belongs to the Nyingma Pa sect which was built by Choegyal Pasang and Sonam Lodro. There are many monuments of several Buddhist deities and next to the main shrine, a room with nine stupas of eight healing Buddha is found which makes the gumba unique.
  • Shey Gompa is a majestic monastery located at the base of Crystal Mountain. This stupa is the first Kagyupa sect monastery which was found during the 11th century by Lama Ten-szin-Ra-Pa.
  • Samling Gompa is a 900 years old monastery that is the most important and oldest Bon monastery. It is also known as Yangton Gompa and was built by Gyaltsen Rinchen.
  • Thasung Tsoling Monastery is a significant Bon Monastery that was built during the 15th century by Trenton Tsewang Tsultrim. This Buddhist shrine is located in Tso village at the bank of Phoksundo Lake (the deepest lake in the world).
  • Komache Gompa belongs to the Kagyupa sect of Buddhism. This stupa is located in the left corner of Shey village on the base of Crystal Mountain. It was built by Druptop Singhe Yeshe and it is believed that his footprint is marked on the site.
  • Tsakang Gompa is a situation of the foothill of Crystal Mountain, in the left corner of Shey village, built into cliffs. This monastery is the perfect option for the monks to meditate especially for the Lamas of Shey village.

Apart from these majestic Buddhist shrines, there are many other popular and least recognized monasteries, but very idiosyncratic and rich in beauty and well as culture. Dedhen Samtenling monastery, one of the oldest Bon monasteries in the world, Yangjer Monastery, one of the richest monasteries in Nepal. Likewise, Sipchok Dho Tarap Dedhen Phuntsokling Bon Monastery, Phongdrol Phuntsokling Tsharka Bon Monastery, Thongdrol Phuntsokling Monastery, Ripuba Gompa, Yungdung Sukchelling Gompa, are few other marvelous stupas in the Dolpo region.

Must Visit Buddhist Heritage Sites in Nepal

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