Tangyud Monastery

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Tangyud Monastery
Sakya Tangyuth Gompa Tsewang & Tashi.jpg
Entrance to Tangyud Gompa, Spiti, 2004.
AffiliationTibetan Buddhism
LocationLahaul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India
Tangyud Monastery is located in Himachal Pradesh
Tangyud Monastery
Location within Himachal Pradesh
Geographic coordinates32°14′07″N 78°06′40″E / 32.23528°N 78.11111°E / 32.23528; 78.11111Coordinates: 32°14′07″N 78°06′40″E / 32.23528°N 78.11111°E / 32.23528; 78.11111
Monk standing under stuffed leopard, Tangyud

The Tangyud Monastery (also written bTang-rGyud, Tangyuth) or Sa-skya-gong-mig Gompa[1] at the village of Komic, two km southeast of Hikkim in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India, is built like a fortified castle on the edge of a deep canyon, with massive slanted mud walls and battlements with vertical red ochre and white vertical stripes which make them look much taller than they really are. It is one of the highest altitude gompas (monasteries) in India, at an altitude of 4,520 metres (14,830 ft), on the edge of a deep canyon and overlooking the town of Kaza, Spiti 4 km to the west.[2][3] It is located on the periphery of the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary.[4]


It is one of only two monasteries belonging to the Sakya sect left in Spiti - the other, at Kaza itself, is small and relatively insignificant. It reportedly had 60 monks in 1855.[5]

Inside Assembly Hall, Tangyud, Spiti
Young monks studying in the sun. Tangyud Gompa. 2004.

Although it is considered by locals to be very ancient, an examination of the present fortified structure modelled on a Chinese castle, and other circumstantial evidence, makes it likely that it was built early in the 14th century when the Sakyapas rose to power under Mongol patronage.[6]

It is thought, however, that there was an earlier Kadampa establishment here founded by Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055 CE) and named Rador-lha.[7] The name, Tangyud, may refer to the Sakya revision of the Tang-rGyud, or the 87 volumes of Tantra treatises which form part of the Tengyur. This was carried out about 1310 CE by a team of scholars under the Sakya lama, Ch'os-Kyi-O'd-zer.[8]

The monastery is patronised by the 'Nonos' or local chieftains of Spiti and the monastery has a special cell built into southeastern side for them when they visit.[9][10] Tangyud village is at the foot of the monastery (altitude 4,470 m or 14,665 ft). The monastery itself was apparently badly damaged in the earthquake of 1972.[11]


Tangyud Monastery, Komic
Tangyud Monastery, Komic


  1. ^ Francke (1914), p. 44.
  2. ^ Handa (1987), pp. 83-85.
  3. ^ Kapadia (1999), p. 204.
  4. ^ [1] Ecosphere: Spiti eco-livlihoods.
  5. ^ Handa (1987), p. 131.
  6. ^ Handa (1987), pp. 83-85.
  7. ^ Handa (1987), p. 83, n. 36.
  8. ^ Handa (1987), pp. 83-84.
  9. ^ Handa (1987), p. 85, plan of monastery.
  10. ^ Kapadia (1999), pp.37, 39-40; 204.
  11. ^ [2]


  • Francke, A. H. (1914, 1926). Antiquities of Indian Tibet. Two Volumes. Calcutta. 1972 reprint: S. Chand, New Delhi.
  • Handa, O. C. (1987). Buddhist Monasteries in Himachal Pradesh. Indus Publishing Company, New Delhi. ISBN 81-85182-03-5.
  • Kapadia, Harish. (1999). Spiti: Adventures in the Trans-Himalaya. Second Edition. (1st edition 1996). Indus Publishing Company, New Delhi. ISBN 81-7387-093-4.

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