Although there are many places to visit in Dharamshala, life in Dharamshala and McLeodganj revolves around the Buddhist temple complex of Thekchen Choling Temple which is linked to the private residence of the Dalai Lama. A beautiful example of spiritual and artistic traditions of Buddhism, the complex consists of Namgyal Monastery and Tsuglakhang Temple, both worth a visit if you’re keen to get a sense of active Buddhist Practice. In the outside courtyard, find the monks chanting or preparing colorful sand mandalas and diagrams that symbolize the universe which is used in the rituals of the Kalachakra ceremony, after which the diligent designs are broken. Only 30 km from Rakkh our Luxury Resort in Palampur India, the temple is a must-visit.
This cathedral was completed in 9 months employing about 30 craftsmen, and about 78 laborers which in itself is amazing. With no grand designs, the architectural structure of the cathedral was decorated with down-to-earth simplicity.
Artisans spent 1 year 8 months to complete the three principal images housed in the cathedral. Gold, silver, copper, mercury, diamond, pearl, turquoise, coral, and other precious metals and stones were used in garnishing the images.
The principal image is that of the Sakyamuni Buddha, the fourth savior among the thousand Buddhas who have appeared or are yet to appear in this world during the eternity of good fortune. To quote Nagarjuna, “I make obeisance to Gautama the Buddha who, out of His infinite compassion, preached the excellent religion, so as to discard all other doctrines”. The image of the Buddha is more than nine feet high from the lotus seat and is made of bronze, according to the measurements described in the text.
The right side of the Cathedral has the image of Guru Padma Sambhava. In the 8th century, during the reign of King Trisong Deutsen of Tibet, when the cathedral of Samye was being built, Padma Sambhava whom Tibetans traditionally address as their Guru Rinpoche, subdued all the enemies of the Dharma. With an unshakable will, and motivated with boundless benevolence, he laid the foundation for a secure flourishing of the Buddha Dharma in Tibet. The greatness of Padma Sambhava can be gauged from the paraphrase of accolade made by His Holiness Gendun Gyatso, the second Dalai Lama. He says: “I pay my fullest respects to the mighty Padma Sambhava, the accomplished Tantric Sage who projected himself in the reincarnations of such supreme personalities as the revered Je Tsongkhapa and Sri Atisha, the precious crown jewels of 500 wise men”.
In 1966, the cultural and religious objects in the central cathedral were destructed in an unfortunate event of maniacal fury. The image of Avalokitesvara was damaged, removed, and thrown on the streets. Some Tibetans were able to move out one wrathful and another peaceful form of Avaloketesvara’s face images of Tibet. These images reached India via Nepal in 1967. Later on, in 1968 another wrathful face image of Avalokitesvara and another peaceful face image of Amitabha were able to reach India through Nepal under similar circumstances.
The gompa houses various cultural relics brought from Lhasa during the Cultural Revolution, including a 1500-year-old idol of Guru Padmasambhava, and a life-size image of Avalokiteshvara, of whom the Dalai Lama is believed to be an incarnation. Dalai Lama gives some public experiences from time to time. You can consult the local authorities for information. The complex courtyard is the venue for an all-day festival of traditional dance held in honor of His Holiness’s birthday on July 6, although the Dalai Lama is not always present here on his birthday.
While people are mesmerized by the beauty of the places abroad, they fail to realize that the options are quite abundant around India as well. And Himachal Pradesh offers you not just mountains but beautiful rivers, adventure sports, and the traditional Tibetian temples. For those planning their next trip during the winter vacation, Dharamshala is an option worth considering. Situated against a backdrop of the serene Dhauladhar mountains, Dharamshala is a beautiful and breathtaking spot with many temples and places to visit and you can choose to stay with us at Rakkh, our Luxury Resort in Palampur, India which is a perfect stay option and gives you easy access to Palampur and Mceodganj as well.