Places to Visit in Tabo, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Tabo is a small town in the Lahaul and Spiti district on the banks of the Spiti River in Spiti Valley Himachal Pradesh, India. Tabo is an offbeat tourist attraction for the travelers specially known for Tabo Monastery temples.




tourist places to visit in tabo, spiti valley, himachal pradesh



The town lies on the road between Rekong Peo and Kaza (alternative spelling: Kaja), the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, India.



The village is situated at an altitude of 10,760 ft/ 3,280 metres.


The importance of the place can be ascertained by the fact that 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.


Tourist places to visit in Tabo, Spiti valley, Himachal Pradesh - Tabo monasteryRibba and Nako are not on the main road, but are two of Kinnaur’s most captivating villages. Surrounded by orchards and vineyards, Ribba also has the distinction of brewing the best local liquors-ghanti, anguri or chuli. With a lake in its middle, Nako’s houses seem half buried in the ground- and the lake water often seep in. Nako is the base for the trek to the peak of Pargial and the monastery of Tashigang, where the image of what is said to grow here.




Along the highway, Chango is the last village of Kinnaur, and in its monsoon-free aridity grow the finest apples of the area. Called ‘middle country’, Spiti is a cold desert which Rudyard Kiplong in Kim called “world within a world’ and a place “where the gods lives”.
Founded in 996, the Tabo gompa has exquisite frescoes and stucco statues, and is called ‘Ajanta of Himalayas’. The largest monastic complex in Spiti, the old section has nine temple,23 chortens a chamber for monks and another one for nuns. There are several caves and contemporary structures too. In Trans Himalayan Buddhism, Tabo’s sancity is next only to Tibet’s Tholing gompa.


Accommodation at Tabo consists of rest houses and basic hotels.




Tourist places to visit in Tabo, Spiti valley, Himachal Pradesh - Tabo monastery

Tabo Monastery

Tabo is noted for being the oldest continuously operating Buddhist enclave in both India and the Himalayas. It was founded in 996 CE in the Tibetan year of the Fire Ape. A large number of frescoes displayed on its walls depict tales from the Buddhist pantheon.  There are many priceless collections of thankas (scroll paintings), manuscripts, well-preserved statues, frescos and extensive murals which cover almost every wall.



The monastery was built by the Buddhist king (also known as Royal Lama) Yeshe O’d in 996 A.D. It was renovated 46 years later by the royal priest Jangchub O’d, the grandnephew of Yeshe O’d. They were kings of the Purang-Guge kingdom whose ancestry is traced to the ancient Tibetan monarchy, and extended their kingdom from Ladakh to Mustang by building a large network of trade routes, and built temples along the route.


Tourist places to visit in Tabo, Spiti valley, Himachal Pradesh - Tabo monastery

Tabo Monastery (Tabo ‘Chos-hKhor’ or Doctrinal Enclave) now has nine temples, four decorated stupas, and cave shrines. The paintings date to the 10th-11th centuries for main temple (Tsug la Khang), 13th-14th centuries for the stupas, and from the 15th to the 20th centuries for all the other temples.

The monastery currently runs the Serkong School, which was established on 29 May 1999, marking the 15th birthday of Serkong Tsenshap Rinpoche, the present abbot. The students from the age of 5 to 14 years, in classes 1-8 study there. The subjects covered are English, Hindi and Bhoti;, Social Science, Social Studies, Math and General Knowledge. Information technology, Sanskrit language and Art are also provided to students in higher grade levels.


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