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| Last Updated:: 13/09/2023

Tabo Monastery






Tabo an ancient village is about 46 Kms from Kaza, on the left bank of the Spiti River at an altitude of 10,004 feet. The biggest attraction of this village, for that matter of the whole valley, is the Tabo monastery, called Chogs-hkhor ('doctrinal circle' or 'doctrinal enclave') a complex that holds nine temples, 23 chortens, a monks' chamber and an extension that houses the nuns’ chamber.


On the sheer cliff-face above the enclave are a series of caves which were used as dwellings by the monks and include an 'assembly hall'.








Faint traces of the paintings that once embellished the rock face can be discerned. Even today, Tabo holds the distinction of being the largest monastic complex in Spiti. Constructed in 996 AD, Tabo was the brainchild of the great translator and teacher, Rinchensang Po. Tabo is famous for its exquisite murals and stucco sculptures which bear a striking resemblance with the paintings and sculpture in the Ajanta caves. This is why Tabo has acquired the tide of' Himalayan Ajanta'.







Tabo is the oldest continuously functioning Buddhist monastery in India and the Himalayas with its original decoration and iconographic program intact. Tabo monastery contains the largest number and the best preserved group of Buddhist monuments in Himachal Pradesh. The nine chapels, four decorated stupas, and cave shrines contain paintings datable to the 10-11th c. (Main Temple), 13th-14th c. (Stupas), and 15-20th c. (all other chapels). Except for the main Temple and the painted interior of the stupas, all other extant paintings are attributable to periods following the Gelugpa ascendancy.