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Authored by Himanshu Agarwal

When thinking of religion in India it’s generally Hinduism which comes to mind. But Buddhism is also well practiced here, especially in the high altitude regions of the north, and there many incredible monasteries to see.

Monasteries are considered to be one of the most holy and sacred places in the country. Every year millions of people travel to the mountains of northern India in search of eternal peace. Some monasteries are easy to reach while others are remarkably secluded, so remotely located that reaching them is no easy feat.

You need to be physically fit to reach the following Indian monasteries, but those willing to travel off the beaten path will reap the rewards. The most secluded monasteries in India are also some of the most spectacular. Set among gorges and steep slopes, they offer splendid isolation from the world in their surroundings.

For those looking for a vacation off the beaten path, we recommend the following secluded monasteries. Many provide good accommodation facilities for tourists. The journey may be rigorous and unassuming but few things can compare to the bliss that manifests once you arrive.

5 Secluded Monasteries in India

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Buddhist Monastery of Ki, Ki Village, India

Located in the Spiti Valley at an altitude of 4,166 m, the Buddhist Monastery of Ki is a sight to behold. With its old-world charm and isolation, it rings out a surreal feeling from the moment you first catch a glimpse of it.

You can’t help but feel as though you have been transported to a fabled land when looking down upon this the monastery of Ki, half-expecting mythological creatures to suddenly gallop forward!

This Tibetan monastery was founded in the 11th century and has endured many assails of the Mongols during the 14th and 19th centuries. The three-storied monastery has numerous murals which are borne from 14th century monastic architecture. It also houses several scripts and images of Buddha. The Ki Monastery also endured an earthquake in 1975.

Buddhist Monastery of Ki, Ki Village, India

Phugtal Gompa, Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir

Ladakh is a region which served as Buddhist Kingdom in ancient times, and of the many places to visit here, this is where you will find a remarkably isolated monastery, the Phugtal Gompa.

Located in the Zanskar region in the Lungnak Valley of Ladakh, this is one of the few monasteries that can be reached by foot. Do note however it can take a full day’s journey to reach this secluded dwelling.

This is a humble yet striking construction that perches upon a cliff laterally and has endured several centuries of exposure to natural elements. This monastery also has a traditional Tibetan medical clinic that looks into the well being of the local population.

Believed to be the first settlement of the 16 Arhats (legendary followers of Buddha), their images adorn the walls. A stone tablet remains as a testament to Alexander Csoma de Koros, the Hungarian philotolist and Orientalist, who stayed here when he was working on the English-Tibetan dictionary.

Phuktal monastery, Zanskar, India

Lunch at Phuktal monastery, Zanskar, India

Diskit Gompa, Nubra Valley, Ladakh

The Diskit Monastery lies in the secluded Nubra Valley of Ladakh in northern India. Built in the 14th century, the Diskit Gompa houses the 32m tall statue of Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha that is believed to come in the future, whose construction started in 2006.

The Maitreya Buddha statue was erected to ensure no more war with Pakistan, to protect the village of Diskit, and as a symbol of world peace. The age-worn stone structure stands on the approach road and while the newer extensions are in good shape, the older parts show signs of decay as they remain largely in seclusion.

Diksit Gompa, Nubra Valley, Ladakh

32 m tall statue of Maitreya Buddha

Bodh Gaya, Bihar

While the Bodh Gaya is not as secluded in location and approach like the other monasteries on this list, it is worth a significant mention as the place where Gautama Buddha received enlightenment in the belief of Buddhism.

The Bodhi tree is renowned worldwide as the exact site where Buddha attained his awakening. Bodh Gaya is associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Komik Lundup Tsemo Gompa, Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

Another particularly isolated monastery is the Komik monastery in Himachal Pradesh. This monastery sits at 4,587 meters high, with a gigantic statue of Buddha overlooking the mountains and village of Komik below.

Although the monastery was originally located in Hikkim, it was moved after an earthquake destroyed the original construction. A team of Buddhist scholars revised the entire Tangryud – 87 volumes of the Tantra treatises. It is no wonder that the high priests here are proficient it Tantra.

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An explorer at heart, Himanshu possesses undying curiosity for trying new things and seeing new places.

He enjoys blogging at PearlsIndiaTour.com and learning something new every day, widening his horizon with every experience.

Photo credits: Featured photo by Sandeepa Chetan. Pinterest image Mahabodhi Temple by Margie Savage (Beedie). Pinterest image buddhist boy by Staffan Scherz. Ki Monastery by 4ocima. Phuktal monastery photos by Sandeepa Chetan. Diskit Monastery by ccarlstead. Maitreya Buddha statue by cishore™.

    30 Comments

  1. Oh wow such beautiful looking places, would love to visit them all one day!

    • Hope you do have the chance to Becky! Happy travels :)

  2. These look like such incredible and enlightening places. I love it!

    • Hope you have the chance to visit soon! :)

  3. Interesting post. Ladakh is on my travel wishlist. Several years ago I headed to the Buddhist temples in Karnataka, where people from Tibet now live.

    • Thanks Barry! Glad you enjoyed the post. Hope you have the chance to visit Ladakh soon – the Buddhist temples in Karnataka sounds like it would have been a magical experience too :)

  4. Such amazing places that I would love to visit one day. I find Buddhist Temples peaceful and like to learn more about the different ones. The Buddhisy Monestary in Ki, India is my favorite.
    Stephanie 1AdventureTraveler

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Stephanie! Hope you have the chance to visit each of these temples in your future travels :)

  5. I would love to visit Ladakh some day! I visited Tibet ten years ago and remember how magical the experience was. Ladakh seems to be the perfect place to glimpse Tibetan culture without having to deal with the difficult visa/entry issues. Your photo of Phugtal Gompa is especially wonderful.

    • I hope you do have the chance Erika! Visiting Tibet sounds amazing – you can definitely travel to regions like Ladakh though and gain a glimpse of the culture for those who have trouble with a Tibetan visa.

  6. I’ve always wondered how they construct these things considering their “hidden/in the middle of nowhere” locations! I went to Meteora in Greece and that was also mind boggling! Great photos.

    • Isn’t it mind blowing! It’s blown my mind how much talent and skill it would have taken to create such masterpieces without the modern technology we have today. I think that ancient civilizations were probably far more advanced than we give them credit for!

  7. Hiking to secluded spots is definitely not my typical type of travel, but I’m going to do some research and see what I can make happen. The Monastery of Ki is definitely the most historic, which I love.

    • Keep us updated John if you take the trip! :)

  8. Wouldn’t that be a fun trip to take! When I go to India, I definitely want to coordinate with a local to find all the best, hidden places like this. I feel like there’s no way you could do the planning yourself for that kind of trip or you’d miss all the good stuff!

    • A great idea Laura – feel free to reach out to Himanshu if you have any questions when planning your trip :)

  9. Wow! I have only visited monasteries in Greece and was extremely surprised to find out that these gorgeous places were in India. Who knew? The Buddhist Monastery of Ki is absolutely incredible, it should be a movie setting. I can totally see a Game of Thrones scene here. Thanks for the history lesson and I hope I get to visit them in person some day.

    • The Buddhist Monastery of Ki seems to be an overwhelming favorite! Really does seem like it’s straight from the pages of a storybook. Hope you have the chance to visit soon Melody :)

  10. Wow, how interesting! I really love India so I think these places would be right up my alley. I am bookmarking this for the future. I swear I could spend a lifetime exploring India and all its beautiful madness.

    • You definitely could spend a lifetime and probably still not have seen everything India has to offer! Some truly incredible sites :) Hope you have the chance to revist and take in some of these sites soon :)

  11. Your photos are incredible! I had no idea there were so many Buddhist in India. I would love to visit this part of the world

    • Glad you enjoyed the photos Mags! Hope you have the chance to visit soon :)

  12. All of these look like really interesting places to visit. The architecture is fantastic plus getting to learn about the religion first hand is wonderful.

    • Absolutely Jennifer! Hope you have the chance to visit India and witness each site yourself :)

    • Hope you have the chance to get to India soon Lauren … and enjoy a few monasteries while there! Happy travels :)

  13. nice, but where’s Rizong abnd Alchi?

    • Thankyou for the recommendations … Will keep them on note for a next post :)

  14. Shouldn’t wealthy Americans take horses & canoes on this vacation to avoid a massive carbon footprint?

    • Sure, whatever you can do to contribute towards lowering global emissions is great :)

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