Tabo Monastery, situated in the village of Tabo, lies at 3,280 metres altitude near the Tibetan (Chinese) border. It lies just north of the Sutlej river – an area which was until recently restricted to foreigners. The monastery was founded 996 A.D. It’s of singular importance because of the unique beauty of its art as well as its pivotal historical role in the transmission of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and culture in the 10th/11th century.

Thousand Years Old

Tabo Monastery
Inside the Monastery – Photography is prohibited. My friend didn’t pay heed

Tabo is the oldest functioning Buddhist monument in India and the Himalayas with its original decoration and iconographic program intact. The Tabo main temple preserves an extraordinary wealth of documentation for the history and culture of the period. Although there have been significant changes in the Buddhist practice during the last millenium, thanks to the good state of preservation and the abundance of primary documentation, it is still possible to trace traditions connected with the first hundred years of the monastery.

Tabo village and the surrounding areas have maintained an economic and social structure somewhat analogous to that which existed a thousand years ago.

Tabo – A quaint little village

Tabo Monastery
An esteemed monk from Tibet talking about Buddhism, I didn’t understand anything but it was surreal nonetheless

Comprising of a handful of houses scattered in an asymmetrically beautiful way; Tabo is a very picturesque place.┬áThe monastery is pretty much in the centre of the village. The village has in the recent years started seeing a decent tourist footfall. Hence one can easily find home stay accommodation. It won’t be a surprise if you find International cuisine being served at a restaurant or two. A considerable number of foreign travelers visit Tabo.

At the edge of the village is a helipad. Local cricketers utilize it more than what the helicopters do. On the coarse hill across the monastery are a series of caves. It is said to be believed that the very first monks who found Tabo used to live and meditate there. The almost inaccessible caves are a marvelous site. The entire vibe of the village is surreal, you literally feel at ease. You just want to sync in the vibe of the place.

Tabo Monastery

Once you visit the monastery you’ll experience subtle vibrations. Those can’t be defined but you will feel different. The place emanates strong positive energies. A perfect place to meditate and contemplate.

How to get there?

Tabo lies in the remotest, most inaccessible corners of India. You can start your journey from Shimla and after 2 days of road travel you will reach there. The only few options available are either a government bus or a personal vehicle/ taxi. A limited number of buses operate on that route owing to its extremities.

May – October is the optimum time to visit.

Foreign Travelers will have to get an ‘Inner Line Permit’ to be able to enter Tabo. The best place to get one is Reckong Peo. It is a short process and can be done at the DC office at Reckong peo.