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This place is famous for the Tabo Buddhist monastery which is situated at an elevation of 3050 meters above sea level. The hill station offers a spectacular view of the beautiful snow-capped peaks.
The history dates back to the 10th century when the lower Spiti valley and upper Kinnaur province were the south-western border of the buddhist Guge kingdom ruled by the members of the royal dynasty of Purang-Guge in west Tibet. The foundation of this kingdom, upper Kinnaur, Spiti, Lahaul, Zanskar and Ladakh first came under the nominal rule of this Tibetan dynasty under its first two kings in the mid-10th century.
According to legend, Tabo monastery is said to be over a thousand years old. The Tabo monastery was founded by Rinchen Zangpo, the noted scholar, to develop it into a center for advanced studies. This monastery was built to serve as the educational institution for the eastern area of Spiti. This well known scholar contributed this great monastery of Tabo hill station in 996 AD.
Set 3050 m above sea level, Tabo Monastery, one of the most important in the country, is considered the most sacred after the Tholing Gompa in Tibet. It has exquisite frescoes and stucco statues, and often called 'Ajanta of the Himalayas'.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has expressed his desire to retire to Tabo, since he maintains that the Tabo Monastery is one of the holiest. In 1996, His Holiness the Dalai Lama conducted the Kalachakra initiation ceremony in Tabo, which coincided with the millennium anniversary celebrations of the Tabo monastery. The ceremony was attended by thousands of Buddhists from across the world.
The Tabo monastery on the hill station of Tabo has an enormous collection of wonderful paintings and scriptures. The walls of this monastery have been very beautifully curved that resembles the paintings of the Ajanta cave. There are sixty 'lamas' or religious teachers who work for the cause of this monastery.
An unique feature of this Tabo monastery is that it is solely constructed with mud and blocks of bricks. There are also statues inside the monastery that depicts Lord Buddha being done in a purely Kashmiri art form. Tabo completed its 1000th anniversary in the year 1996.
The Buddhist monk Dalai Lama executed the Kalachakra Initiation Ceremony at Tabo hill station in the months of July and August.
The largest monastic complex in Spiti, the old section has 9 temples, 23 chortens, a monk's chamber and an extension that houses the nun's chamber.
The complex houses several caves which were used as
dwelling units by the monks and contemporary structures too. According
to an inscription on one of the walls, " This temple was first founded
by the ancestor the Bodhisattva in the Ape Year and now 46 years later
the Royal Descendent, the Mighty One Chang - Chub Od, motivated by the
thought of enlightenment, has carried out repairs to this temple', the
year 996 AD is considered as the year of monastery's construction. But
tradition attributes Tabo's founding to the Great Translator and teacher
Rinchensang Po. He also founded several other monasteries in the area.