Gompas – The Buddhist Temples

Gompas are Buddhist temples, located in Tibet, Ladakh (India), Nepal, and Bhutan. Their design and interior details vary from region to region, however, all follow a general layout of a central prayer hall containing a Buddha statue, benches for the monks or nuns to engage in prayer or meditation and attached living accommodation. Most of these Gompas are located in remote areas, usually at great heights. Either the Mahayana or the Hinayana Buddhist sects built most monasteries in the Ladakh area of Kashmir. Monasteries in Ladakh are perched on high cliffs. The gompa may also be accompanied by any number of stupas. Ladakh is basically a high altitude desert and is one of the most remote regions of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. There are more than 100 Gompas or monasteries in Ladakh. These Gompas are religious residences of Buddhist monks who stay here and adhere to the Buddhist way of life, meditate and pray. The largest monastery in Ladakh is the Hemis Gompa that is situated at a distance of 45 kilometers from Leh, the capital of Ladakh. The Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, which was built in the year 1430, houses a three-storyed statue of Lord Buddha. The Sankar Gompa is also an important monastery. The Dalai Lama inaugurated the Shanti Stupa in the year 1995. The Likhir monastery was built in the 11th century. There are vast clay images of Lord Buddha in this Gompa along with utensils and manuscripts from the olden days. Another old monastery is the Cave Gompa located at Shergole.

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