India

Lhaden Chenmo Tibetan Monastery – Sarnath

The Lhaden Chenmo Tibetan Monastery (also known as the Tibeten Temple) is located 600m south-east of the ancient Buddhist complex at Sarnath. Constructed in 1955, it is the first monastery and temple built by the present Dalai Lama in India.

The entrance of the monastery complex is flanked by carvings of two lions. This opens up to a large open compound which houses a light pink stupa, built by Tibetans to commemorate and to show their gratitude to the Indian Government for granting asylum to the fleeing Dalai Lama.

Some nice frescoes adorn the entrance way to the main temple in the heart of the compound.

Within, there is a large image of Sakyamuni, another form of Buddha, in a resting position. 

Upon entering I was immediately taken back to my two visits to Ladakh, and specifically the Jokhang Gompa in the heart of Leh, which was built around the same time.

Although the interior was not identical, there were enough common elements and a similar vibe that brought my memories flooding back. It was also a timely reminder that some day soon I must return to Ladakh and explore that region in more depth.

I have since discovered that it is possible for visitors to stay overnight at the monastery next to the temple, by paying a small donation. If I had known this earlier I think I would have taken the opportunity to do this, and spend a bit more time exploring around Sarnath.

For all the research I do prior to visiting somewhere in India, invariably I manage to tease out more information when it comes to documenting my travels. Perhaps one day I will return to Sarnath and take up this opportunity.


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