Sakya Tangyud Monastery Overview

Sakya Tangyud Monastery in Kaza is a spiritual retreat situated in the Spiti Valley. Built in the early 14th century, it stands close to the Indo-Tibetan border. This Buddhist monastery is one of the highest in the world. You will find ancient murals and scriptures inside, which offer a peek into Buddhist culture and history.

Nestled in the heart of the Spiti Valley, the Sakya Tangyud Monastery is an architectural marvel. It is located in the quaint Komik village, at an elevation of 4,520 metres above sea level. It is also one of the highest monasteries in India, in addition to being a centre for Buddhist learning. It is surrounded by the Himalayas, offering a unique blend of spiritual enrichment and natural wonder. Its strategic location on the edge of the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary further enhances its allure.

The monastery was built in the early 14th century and is famous for its fortified castle-like appearance. It has Tibetan-style architecture, with slanted mud walls and walls with red ochre and white stripes. This architectural splendour is also a testament to the monastery's rich history. Furthermore, it showcases its significance within the Sakya sect of Tibetan Buddhism. On the inside, the monastery houses exquisite murals and ancient scriptures related to Buddhism. The monastery is also famous for hosting the vibrant annual Cham Dance Festival. Despite its remote location, the monastery’s unique charm and the warm hospitality of the residing monks make it a must-visit destination for those exploring the Spiti Valley.

Location: Kaza, Himachal Pradesh 172114

Timings: 6 am to 6 pm

Entry fee: No entry fees


• Explore ancient murals and learn about Buddhist mythology at Sakya Tangyud Monastery.
• Witness the annual Cham Dance festival, a vibrant display of the traditional Chaam dance performance by monks.
• Marvel at the monastery's unique architecture, resembling a fortified castle.
• Enjoy breathtaking views of Spiti Valley from the monastery's high-altitude location.
• Discover the monastery's rich history and its significance to the Sakya sect.

How To Reach

Sakya Tangyud Monastery, nestled in the scenic vistas of the Himalayas, is a serene destination easily accessible by road from Kaza. This cultural and spiritual haven can be reached through two main routes, offering a journey as remarkable as the destination itself.

By Bus: For those opting for public transport, HRTC and private buses operate the two main routes to Kaza, the gateway to Sakya Tangyud Monastery. From June to October, you can embark on a journey from Manali via the Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass. This route covers 183.1 kilometres and takes around 8 to 10 hours. Alternatively, the Shimla route through the Kinnaur Valley is available year-round. This route covers 418.5 kilometres and is a 12 to 14-hour journey. Upon reaching Kaza, local buses or shared taxis can take you the remaining 23.1 kilometres to the monastery in about an hour.

By Car: Driving to Sakya Tangyud Monastery allows for a more flexible and intimate exploration of the region. The Manali route, open from June to October, provides a thrilling drive through the Rohtang and Kunzum Passes over 183.1 kilometres. Expect the drive to last 8 to 10 hours, depending on conditions. The Shimla via Kinnaur Valley route, although longer at 418.5 kilometres and taking about 12 to 14 hours, is accessible throughout the year. From Kaza, the monastery is just an hour’s drive away.

Best Time To Visit

The monastery's spiritual energy and cultural heritage make it a year-round attraction. However, its accessibility fluctuates throughout the year, influenced by seasonal changes like rainfall and snowfall.

Best Day of the Week: Weekdays are the ideal times to visit Sakya Tangyud Monastery. These days tend to be less crowded, allowing for a more intimate exploration of the site's spiritual ambience and architectural beauty. You can also enjoy a peaceful experience with more opportunities to interact with the monks on these days.

Best Time of the Day: The monastery opens from 06:00 a.m. to 07:00 p.m., making mornings the perfect time for a visit. Early hours offer a tranquil atmosphere for meditation and participation in morning prayers. The evening prayers also provide a serene end to the day, under the soft glow of sunset over Spiti Valley.

Other Essential Information

Tips for visiting Sakya Tangyud Monastery

1. Acclimatize to the high altitude for a comfortable and safe visit to the monastery.

2. Bring cash for donations and for making small purchases due to the scarcity of ATMs in the area.

3. Dress modestly to respect the spiritual environment of the monastery.

4. Always ask for permission before taking photographs inside the monastery.

5. Maintain silence inside the monastery to preserve its tranquil atmosphere.

6. Check the monastery's visiting hours before your visit.

7. Consider winter visits cautiously since extreme cold and potential road closures due to snowfall may limit access.

8. Practice 'leave no trace' ethics to help preserve the natural beauty of Spiti Valley.

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Point of Interest for Sakya Tangyud Monastery
Explore Ancient Murals and Art

Explore Ancient Murals and Art

Dive into the heart of Tibetan culture at Sakya Tangyud Monastery by exploring its ancient murals and art. Some of these exquisite paintings date back to the early 14th century. They tell tales of Buddhist mythology, life lessons, and the history of Buddhism in the region. The intricate details and vibrant colours of each mural offer a glimpse into the spiritual and artistic legacy of the monastery and are preserved with great care. They also reflect stories from the Jataka Tales and teachings of the Buddha as well.

Witness the Cham Dance Festival

Witness the Cham Dance Festival

Experience the mesmerizing Cham Dance, a festival held annually at the monastery in late July or early August. This sacred dance is performed by monks in elaborate masks and costumes. In addition to being a visual spectacle, it is also a deeply spiritual event. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil and is believed to ward off negative energies. The dance is accompanied by traditional Tibetan musical instruments, enhancing the ethereal experience. Observing this dance allows you to connect with the local culture and sentiments. It also offers you a rare insight into Tibetan Buddhist rituals and celebrations.

Engage with Monks in Daily Prayers and Meditation

Engage with Monks in Daily Prayers and Meditation

Participate in daily prayers and meditation sessions led by the resident monks. These sessions offer a serene and transformative experience to all the visitors to the monastery. They also allow you to find peace and introspection amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Spiti. Meditating here is an opportunity to learn about Buddhist practices and philosophies directly from the monks and scriptures. The monastery’s prayer hall is decorated with statues and thangkas, offering a perfect backdrop to your meditation session.

Admire the Fortified Architecture

Admire the Fortified Architecture

Take a moment to admire the monastery's unique architecture during your visit. It resembles a fortified castle with massive slanted mud walls and vertical red ochre and white stripes. It stands as a testament to the Buddhist style of architecture, and its design has withstood the harsh weather conditions of Spiti Valley. The monastery’s construction techniques are a marvel of engineering, as its builders used local materials and traditional methods to build this place. As you admire the monastery's structure, you can learn about the historical and cultural significance of this sacred site, along with the blend of religious and defensive purposes it served.

Enjoy Breathtaking Views of Spiti Valley

Enjoy Breathtaking Views of Spiti Valley

Sakya Tangyud Monastery is located on the edge of a deep canyon. It provides some of the most spectacular views of Spiti Valley. During your visit, you can take a walk around the monastery grounds at sunrise or sunset to witness the valley bathed in golden hues. The panoramic views from this vantage point are unparalleled, making it a perfect spot for photography. The unique location of the monastery overlooks the rugged landscape and the Komik Village as well. It offers an unforgettable experience to all who visit, displaying a blend of man-made structures and natural spectacles.

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