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Tabo in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

In remote Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, the little town of Tabo is a memory of a distant time: natural, quiet and starkly beautiful. The monasteries here preserve the ancient Buddhist traditions.

Tabo At an altitude of 3050 meters, in the eastern region of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, lies the village of Tabo. A little south of the town is the well-tended temple complex of Tabo Chokhor. Its structure blends well into the surrounding village of brown and white mud- and stone houses.

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Spiti Built in 996 AD under the patronage of the Western Tibetan king Khorre (c. 9671040), who had renounced his throne to become the famous monk Yeshe O and spiritually conceived by the Great Translator, Lotsava Rinchen Zangpo (9581055), the Tabo Chokhor complex is one of the few surviving monasteries of the earliest period of Tibetan monastic culture and art, and certainly one of the most beautiful and elaborate of its kind. The story of Tabo opens a window both on Tibetan and Indian culture and history because of a religion and a style of art that have both disappeared from their land of origin. Places of interest around Tabo include:

Dhankar Dhankar
On the left bank of the Spiti river at a distance of 28 kms towards Kaza, nestles the citadel of Dhankar (3870m), the erstwhile capital of Spiti. The citadel is built on a spur which projects into the main valley and ends in a precipice. The location of this fort is strategic as Spiti always had to suffer innumerable aggressions by its neighbors. The location allowed the Spitian to keep vigil on the approaches and to send messages to surrounding inhabitations in case of danger. It overlooks the Spiti and Pin valley.

Kaza is the perfect place to explore Spiti Valley. Places of interest around Kaza include Ki & Dhankar monasteries, Kibber, Gete, and Pin valley. The circular walk that covers Langja, Comic and Kaza is highly recommended. One can walk on the road to Langza (9 kms.). From here, it is a cross-country walk to Comic (8 kms.). From Comic to Kaza is about 6 kms. over scree slopes. Ki

Spiti's second oldest monastery is located in the Pin valley 45 kms from Tabo. The Kungri gompa was built around 1330 AD and is the main centre of the Nyingma-pa sect. The curious looking buzhens perform a sword dance and are perhaps the only branch of Buddhism in which use of weapons is practiced. Most of the Pin valley has been demarcated as the Pin Valley National Park. The Park forms a natural habitat for a number of endangered animals including the Siberian Ibex, Snow Leopard, Bharal, Wooly Hare, Tibetan Wolf, Red Fox and Snow Cock among others. Bird species include the Himalayan Snow cock, Chukor, Snow Partridge, Kestrels, Bearded Vulture and Golden Eagle etc. The Banjara Retreat at Tabo is the right place from where one can truly enjoy the unparalleled magnificence of Spiti.

Contact details:
Banjara Camps & Retreats
Tel. 91 11 26855152
e-mail: info@banjaracamps.com
website: www.banjaracamps.com

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.