It's time to explore the renowned monasteries after touring Lo Manthang's spectacular castles. Over the years, the Lo Manthangs monasteries, or Gompas, have gained a reputation and drawn many tourists.
The three monasteries of Dragkar-Thegchen Ling Gompa, Jampa Gompa, and Thupchen Gompa are mentioned in specific guidebooks as a feature of the city. They also cast a negative light on them, claiming that they are constantly locked up due to ambiguous and exorbitant admittance fees.
The monasteries are open every afternoon from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. You must first pay 1,000 rupees to the custodian monk at Dragkar-Thegchen Ling Gompa to see them all. The monk will then take you and your team on a tour of all the monasteries.
Perhaps the most astonishing element of all of this is that Lo Manthang is home to not three but four monasteries and a museum to explore.
Five Famous Gompas of Lo Manthang
The five famous monasteries in Lo Manthang are:
- Dragkar-Thegchen Lina Gompa
- Chode Gompa
- The Monastic Museum
- Jampa Monastery
- Thupchen Gompa
Dragkar-Thegchen Lina Gompa
Dragkar-Thegchen Ling Gompa Within the confines of Lo Manthang is the most famous and largest monastery. This monastery was constructed in the 13th century during the reign of King Ama Pal when the land was known as the Kingdom of Lo.
It currently houses some of the region's most potent lamas. Many of its antiquities were destroyed by earthquakes in the 16th and 17th centuries. This is also where Lo Manthang's fourth monastery may be found, as it is part of the same complex.
The tiny Chode Gompa is located directly to the right of the Dragkar-Thegchen Ling Gompa. When the Dragkar-Thegchen Ling Gompa was destroyed in the 16th century, all its relics were transported to the Chode Gompa next door.
Image Cr: Wikipedia
Caption: Chode Gompa
Unfortunately, the Chode Gompa caught fire in the 17th century, burning even more relics, then relocated to the newly renovated Dragkar-Thegchen Ling Gompa.
The Monastic Museum
The Monastic Museum is located behind the Dragkar-Thegchen Ling Gompa and Chode Gompa. This structure was built in 2008; however, it was seriously damaged after the 2015 earthquake, and it is currently closed. It was committed to preserving priceless items from neighbouring Upper Mustang monasteries.
Manuscripts dating back over 2000 years were among the treasures discovered. There were also 3000-year-old Bonpo texts painted in gold or carved into the wood. The museum also appears to have ivory from a mammoth on exhibit.
The massive Jampa Monastery is located near the centre of Lo Manthang. King Ama Pal's son, King Angon Sangpo, built it in the 14th century. With 5′ 4′′ thick walls, this monastery appears to have been built with the knowledge of the destructive earthquakes can do. It's not a bad idea with 109 ancient mandalas painted in gold, silver, and turquoise on the three-story monastery.
Image Cr: Wikipedia
Caption: Jampa Gompa
The first floor is covered in images and stories, while the second story is covered in statues and mandalas. The third story, however, is not accessible.
Around the corner from the Jampa Monastery lies the final monastery. It was an important religious institution in the realm and was built by the third monarch of Lo, Tashi Gon, in the 15th century.
Image Cr: Tripadvisor
Caption: Thupchen Gompa
There are large images of protector kings in the main hall on raised platforms in the main entrance room. There are wooden pillars etched with mantras and intricate representations of Buddha and other Bodhisattvas in the main hall.
In the walled city of Lo Manthang, there are four monasteries. It costs 1,000 rupees to visit all of them. However, you are not permitted to take photographs inside. There is a one-time cost of $100 to picture or video inside. In general, the monks were pleasant, as were the majority of the people in the Upper Mustang.
Is it worthwhile to visit the monasteries? Yes, if you enjoy Buddhism. Yes, if you want to see "within" famous monasteries. Are you going to see anything that isn't like the other monasteries... Well, that depends on your knowledge of these monasteries' histories.
Most of the statues at Upper Mustang's monasteries are hidden under soiled glass. In Nepal, this is standard procedure. In the Kathmandu Valley, the imagery is more precise.