Places to visit in Tabo

When you travel to Tabo, you will love to visit popular tourist spots and enjoy the local culture. Amongst other Things to do in Tabo, you can surely explore some of the best things to do in Tabo to make your trip a fulfilling one. On a trip to Tabo things to do can include exploring Tabo attractions and visiting the places of interest.

This old,gompa-style monastery is the major attraction of Tabo. This ancient gompa was built in 996 CE by the King Rinchen Zangpo of Guge, which was a kingdom in the western Himalayas. Richen Zangpo was a great scholar and Buddhist. It is the oldestoperating Buddhist monastery in India and the Himalayas. Also called the “Ajanta of the Himalayas”, this monastery has some of the finest fresco paintings on its walls depicting Buddhist Pantheon tales. The monastery is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site and is revered for its holiness in trans-Himalayan Buddhism. The monastery comprises a number of smaller gompas, temples and a chamber for the monks. The frescos on the wall have been painted by the finest artistes of that era, blending Tibetan, Kashmiri and Indian styles. Besides the frescos, the monastery also has a chamber adorned with beautiful stucco statues of Bodhisattvas and intricate wooden carvings. This is the only monastery in the region which lets the visitors stay in the premises to experience life in the monastery.

The chamber is a vestibule attached to the Temple of the Enlightened Gods. This ante-chamber has some of the finest murals of Buddha, his devotees and deities, which is supposedlyhaving protective powers. All paintings in this room are made in pure Tibetan style.

The steep cliffs overlooking the monastery havesome of the oldest manmade caves in the region. These ancient caves were builtcenturies ago and were used by the monks as dwellings in the harsh winter; some of them are still in use. Quite a few caves have now been converted into houses as structures have been built in front of them. There is also evidence that a natural, arch-like cave was the possible abode of a Palaeolithic man. 

Tabo is a destination meant for those who are interested in religion, archaeology, arts and adventure. Therefore, there are not many activities for children in Tabo. Children may find the history of the monastery informative and they can accompany you on short camping trips. Besides, these activities, the Pin Valley National Park andyak safaris from Kaza, which is at a slight distance, may interest children.        

This is the main assembly hall of the monastery where the deity of a four-fold Vairocana in a sitting posture is placed two meters above the ground. There are 33 life-size stucco paintings of the Vajradhatu Mandala in frames on the walls. The wall itself has been painted with frescos depicting the life of Buddha. There is a sanctum beyond this hall which houses the five Bodhisattvas of Good Age. 

This is one of the temples inside the monastery and was initially coated with gold. However, after the restoration work in the early 16th century by Sengye Namgyal, who was the ruler of Ladakh, the gold was removed. Then name, however, stuck to the building. This temple is a must-visit because it has some of the finest frescos in the monastery. 

There is apopular, beautiful painting of Vairocana on the wall facing the door in this temple. The deity is surrounded by eight Bodhisattvas. This is the place where a person is initiated to monkhood. 

This temple has a big hall with an attached ante-chamber and an inner sanctum. The walls are adorned with murals depicting the Tashi-Chunpo and Lhasa Potala Palace. The main attraction of this temple is the 6-metre tall image of Bodhisattva Maitreya.

This is the second largest temple in the complex. The temple, along with a portico and a niche, covers an area of 112 sq.metres. It is believed that this temple was built between 1008 and 1064 AD by Dromton, a fervent disciple of Atisha. The outer walls of this temple haveimages of the Guardian Kings as well as the eight Medicine Buddhas. The inside front is decorated with SakyaMuni with Sariputra and Magdalena by his side. 

Also known as the Temple of Horrors, this temple has many fierce protective deities of the Gelukpa Sect. 

This is a small museum of Tibetan religious artefacts and scriptures. It is located inside the monastery complex and has a paid entry.

This is another small establishment inside the complex. This library has some ancient and rare books on Buddhism among other books. The Library is attached to the monastery guesthouse.

Tabo is in Spiti which is a Himalayan desert.While most of the land is barren, you may see some agricultural land and pastures few and far between.There might even be a small garden in your hotel or you may head towards Kinnaurto experience the lush greenery. You can also visit the Pin Valley National park,a wild life reserve located about 48km away.

Tabo is in a remote areabut there are some interesting places nearby. Kaza, which is 46 km away,is very famous among campers and trekkers. You may also head to Gete and Kibber near Kaza for panoramic views of the surroundings as it is the highest village in the world at an altitude of 4,200 metres above sea-level. It is located about 44 km from Tabo. Another beautiful place near Tabo is the Nako Lake. It is a quaint hamlet with a serene, snowylake and is 29 km from Tabo. You may also visit Dhanker Monastery which is 24 km away and Kunzum La Pass which is 177 km away.

Most of the population in Tabo is Tibetan and of Indo-Aryan descent. People follow Buddhism and Hinduism and rely mostly on agriculture and animal husbandry for livelihood. Some of them are also involved in tourism and government services. The rich cultural heritage of this region is visible through the presence of Thangkas (paintings), statuettes and murals in the monastery. It is evident from the paintings that the culture 

Besides the Tabo Monastery which is the most prominent landmark in Tabo, the other popular landmark is the Tabo Helipad. There is also a Public Works Department Rest House and a few schools in Tabo, which are well known among the locals. 

The best way to feel connected with nature in Tabo is to go for treks or admirethe view from the Tabo Caves. You may also visit the Pin Valley National Park to explore the plant and animal life.

Adrenaline junkies would love Tabo. There are some trekking circuits like the Langza-Hikkim-Comic trek and one-day treks to Anglaand Phela. There are several camping sites near Kaza. You can also take theyak and jeep safaris. SpitiValley also offers river rafting in the summer months.

The most relaxing activity in Tabo is to stay in the monastery and experience the life there. You can meditate, practice yoga and sip some relaxing tea. There are no spas in Tabo or Kaza. 

You can enquire aboutyour hotel or travel company about arranging a cultural show including local dances like Bhuchenand Cham and folk music.

There are a few restaurants in Tabo which offer fresh and tasty food at reasonable prices. There are no options for fine dining. You may want to try Ajanta Restaurant, Dekit Norphel Tiger Den Restaurant, Tow Dhey Himalaya Hotel and Restaurant, and Maitreya Guest House. There are also other options such as Mount Everest Restaurant, Millennium Monastery Guesthouse and Restaurant and Café Kunzum Top.

Most dishes are cooked in home style. Try hot momos, Thukpa and other local Tibetan dishes. You will also find dal and rice in most restaurants. Some shops and restaurants also sell chowmein. 

 

There are no clubs or discos in Tabo or Kaza. You can have a small get-together with music at your camp site in the evening.

There are no bars in Tabo. Local alcohol shops may be available; you can enquire about itwith your hotel and local guide. Carrying your own alcohol is the best option.

There are no flea markets a in Tabo. You may shop for handicrafts and souvenirs in Kaza. 

There are no departmental stores in Tabo. There are some small shops which sell only daily essentials.

A few shops which sell rudimentary things make up for the street market in Tabo. It is advisable to stock up on your requirements beforehand. There is also a small cyber cafe in the market where you can check your emails and browse the internet. 

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