The monastery is a building or buildings occupied by a community of monks living under religious vows. Buddhist religious life is revolving around ‘Sanghas’ which means an "Orders of Disciplines". Buddhists believe that the spiritual quest of monks benefits the entire community and their rituals bring prosperity and protection.
Famous Buddhist Monasteries in India
1. Hemis Monastery
It is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery (gompa) of the Drukpa Lineage, in Hemis, Ladakh, India. It is situated 45 kms South of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir State, on the West bank of river Indus. This monastery is famous for the annual festival of Guru Padmasambhava which is held in June-July.
2. Tabo Monastery
It is located in the Tabo village of Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. It was founded in 996 CE in the Tibetan year of the Fire Ape by the Tibetan Buddhist lotsawa (translator) Rinchen Zangpo (Mahauru Ramabhadra), on behalf of the king of western Himalayan Kingdom of Guge, Yeshe-O.
3. Tsulglagkhang Monastery
It is one of the most famous monasteries of Buddhist people. This is the home for His Holiness Dalai Lama and is situated in Maclodganj suburb of Dharamshala district in Himachal Pradesh. It is also known as Dalai Lama's temple.
4. Thiksey Monastery
It is a gompa (monastery) affiliated with the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located on top of a hill in Thiksey village, approximately 19 kilometres east of Leh in Ladakh, India. It is noted for its resemblance to the Potala palace in Lhasa, Tibet. It is a twelve-story complex and houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords.
5. Tawang Monastery
It is located in Tawang city of Tawang district in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, is the largest monastery in India and second largest in the world after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
6. Bylakuppe Monastery (Namdraling)
It is the largest teaching center of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. It is located in Bylakuppe, in the district of Mysore of the state of Karnataka. This monastery is a home to a sangha community of over five thousand lamas. It is the largest teaching centre of Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism with a junior high school named Yeshe Wodsal Sherab Raldri Ling, a religious college (or shedra for both monks and nuns) and hospital.
7. Shashur Monastery
It is a Buddhist monastery of the Drugpa sect in Lahaul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, northern India. It was built in the 17th century by Lama Deva Gyatsho of Zanskar who was a missionary of Nawang Namgyal, the king of Bhutan.
8. Mindrolling Monastery
It is one of the six major monasteries of the Nyingma School in Tibet. It was founded by Rigzin Terdak Lingpa in 1676. It is located in Zhanang County, Shannan Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, approximately 43 kilometres east of the Lhasa airport, on the south side of the Tsangpo river.
9. Ghum Monastery
It is located in Ghum, West Bengal. In 1875 AD, Lama Sherab Gyatso founded this monastery. It is belongs to the Gelukpa or the Yellow Hat sect and is known for its 15 feet (4.6 m)-high statue of the Maitreya Buddha.
10. Kye Gompa Monastery
It is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,166 metres above sea level, close to the Spiti River, in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Lahaul and Spiti district, India. It is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for Lamas.
11. Lingdum Monastery
It is a Buddhist monastery near Ranka in Sikkim, North East India, about an hour's drive from Gangtok. It follows the Zurmang Kagyu tradition.
12. Alchi Gompa Monastery
It is situated in Alchi village of Leh District, of the Indian state under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council of Jammu and Kashmir. It is administered by the Likir Monastery. As per historian, it was constructed by Guru Rinchen Zangpo between 958 and 1055 AD.
13. Shankar Monastery
It is located near Leh in Ladakh. It is a daughter establishment of Spituk monastery. It is a daughter-establishment of Spituk Monastery and the residence of the Abbot of Spituk, the Venerable Kushok Bakula, who is the senior incarnate lama of Ladakh due to his ancient lineage and personal authority.
14. Matho Monastery
It is a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery situated on the bank of Indus river. It is located 26 kilometres southeast of Leh in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, northern India. It is affiliated with the Saskya order. It was founded by Lama Tugpa Dorjay in 16th century.
15. Nako Monastery
It is situated in Kinnor district of Himachal Pradesh. It was established in 996 AD. It is one of the oldest Monasteries on the ancient routes followed by Lamas over centuries. It was established in the first half of eleventh century by Lochen Rinchen Zangpo.
16. Rumtek Monastery
It is also called the Dharmachakra centre. It is a gompa (Buddhist ecclesiastical fortifications of learning, lineage and sadhana). It is located near Gangtok, Sikkim. It was built under the direction of Changchub Dorje (12th Karmapa Lama in the mid-1700s).