Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery..a hidden gem

IMG_20160410_101640

Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery at Choglamsar is a hidden gem that does not figure on the itinerary of most tourists. Due to paucity of time most of them visit the more famous ones such as Spituk, Thiksey and Hemis. Few venture out ot Alchi and Basgo.

Despite having stayed in Leh for two years, despite having travelled on the Leh-Karu road a number of times, we never visited this monastery. This time while coming back from Thiksey our attention was drawn to the beautiful gate of the monastery.

IMG_20160410_100915

Almost all monasteries are a walkathon and a climbathon.  You drive up steep hills to reach the monastery gate. Then you put on your walking shoes and start climbing a thousand steps and some more. Sure it is a good exercise but in this oxygen deprived environment and under the extremely harsh sun it seems like quite a task. The only two monasteries I have seen around here that are built on flat ground are Alchi and KDCM (yes the one you are reading about!!)

IMG_20160410_102105

IMG_20160410_102300

IMG_20160410_101201

IMG_20160410_101109

KDCM is one of the major dharma centresin the Ladakh region. It is run by the Karmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhists. Unaware of the sect I looked up Wikipedia which tells us that the Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu, the largest sub school of the Kagyu, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The historical seat of the Karmapas is the Tsurphu Monastery in the Tolung Valley of Tibet. The Karmapas principal seat in exile is the Dharma Chakra Crntre at Runtek Monastery in Sikkim.

IMG_20160410_102857

IMG_20160410_102909

IMG_20160410_101918

The KDCM was constructed in 1976. However in 2006 following incessant rainfall the old monastery collapsed. A new multi storey building was constructed which housed the monastery. Even now you can find the monastery in two parts. An original mud brick complex houses the assembly hall, classrooms, kitchen library and living quarters. The new complex has a prayer hall, office and guest rooms.

Once you enter the monastery gates you will find the new structure on your left.  kind monk decided to be our guide and he first took us to the old complex. the entrance is painted with fantastic pictures in vibrant colors.

IMG_20160410_101624

IMG_20160410_101519

As you enter you are greeted by two huge drums.

IMG_20160410_101640

The ceiling has paintings of Buddha in all his forms.

IMG_20160410_101707

The hall houses statues of Padmasambhava, Amitabaha, Dorje Chang.

IMG_20160410_101733

IMG_20160410_101739

IMG_20160410_101814

IMG_20160410_101959

IMG_20160410_101937

IMG_20160410_101925

The quietness of the chamber is so soothing. I always make it a point to sit down in the assembly hall of the monasteries I visit. It has a very calming effect.

IMG_20160410_102014

The new monastery is more elaborate and ornately decorated. Poplar trees and flowers add to the beauty.

IMG_20160410_102152

IMG_20160410_102304

As you approach the main door you can make out how rich the carvings are, how vibrant the colors are.

IMG_20160410_102405

IMG_20160410_102416

IMG_20160410_102426

There is a similar assembly hall.

IMG_20160410_102437

IMG_20160410_102841

The hall houses a large statue of Gautam Buddha. There are many pictures of the Karmapas and their reincarnations. The “Om Mane” mantra is painted all around.

IMG_20160410_102451

IMG_20160410_102526

IMG_20160410_102608

IMG_20160410_102642

IMG_20160410_102725

IMG_20160410_102815

IMG_20160410_102825

This is a less visited but beautiful monastery. Do try and make out some time for it.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s