TIBET : RONGBUK MONASTERY – THE WORLDS HIGHEST MONASTERY

TIBET : RONGBUK MONASTERY WORLDS HIGHEST MONASTERY @ THE BASE OF MOUNT EVEREST
TIBET : RONGBUK MONASTERY WORLDS HIGHEST MONASTERY @ THE BASE OF MOUNT EVEREST

Where is the Rongbuk Monastery located ? At the Base of Mount Everest ?


  • Rongbuk monastery lies near the base of the north side of Mount Everest at 4980 metres (16340 ft) above sea level, at the end of the Dzakar Chu valley
  • Rongbuk is claimed to be the highest-elevation monastery in the world

What are the Specialities of Rongbuk Monastery ?


  • Rongbuk Monastery is a rare monastery in Tibet Autonomous Region that houses Monks and Nuns together.

  • Rongbuk Monastery is the best viewing desk of Mt. Everest in Tibet. The new Everest Base Camp will be built near Rongbuk Monastery.

  • Saga Dawa Festival: 15th. Day of the fourth month in the Tibetan Calendar, there will be a big celebration in Rongbuk Monastery, which attracts locals and travelers to visit.

Rongbuk Monastery

 

A view of the modest Rongbuk Monastery with yaks in the foreground

Rongbuk Monastery, Rongbuk Valley and Mount Everest

Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse

Chorten


What is the Significance of Robgbuk Monastery ?


  • For Sherpas living on the south slopes of Everest in the Khumbu region of Nepal, Rongbuk Monastery was an important pilgrimage site, accessed in a few days’ travel across the Himalaya through the Nangpa La
  • The monastery was also regularly visited by the early expeditions to Mount Everest in the 1920s and 1930s after a five-week journey from Darjeeling in the Indian foothills of the Himalaya
  • Most past and current expeditions attempting to summit Mount Everest from the north, Tibetan side establish their Base Camp near the tongue of Rongbuk Glacier about 8 km (5 mi) south of the Monastery
  • Today the monastery is accessible by road after a two- to three-hour drive from the Friendship Highway from either Shelkar (New Tingri) or Old Tingri
  • From Rongbuk Monastery, there are dramatic views of the north face of Mount Everest

Describe the architecture of Rongbuk Monastery


In front of the Monastery, there is a large round terraced chorten containing a reliquary

Rongbuk Monastery with Mount Everest in the background

Rongbuk Monastery was founded in 1902 by the Nyingmapa Lama Ngawang Tenzin Norbu in an area of meditation huts and caves that had been in use by communities of nuns since the 18th century. Hermitage meditation caves dot the cliff walls all around the monastery complex and up and down the valley. Mani stone walls, carved with sacred syllables and prayers, line the paths


Describe the history of Rongbuk Monastery


The founding Rongbuk Lama, also known as Zatul Rinpoche, was much respected by the Tibetans. Even though the Rongbuk Lama viewed the early climbers as “heretics,” he gave them his protection and supplied them with meat and tea while also praying for their conversion. It was the Rongbuk Lama who gave Namgyal Wangdi the name Ngawang Tenzin Norbu or Tenzing Norgay as a young child

In previous times, the Monastery became very active with Buddhist teachings at certain times of the year. It was, and is, the destination of special Buddhist pilgrimages where annual ceremonies are held for spectators coming from as far away as Nepal and Mongolia

These ceremonies were shared with satellite monasteries across the Himalaya also founded by the Rongbuk Lama. These ceremonies continue to this day, notably at the Sherpa Monastery at Tengboche

Rongbuk Monastery was completely destroyed by the excesses of China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) by 1974 and was left in ruins for several years as recorded by photo-journalist Galen Rowell in 1981

The monastery’s vast treasury of books and costumes, which had been taken for safekeeping to Tengboche, was lost in a 1989 fire

Since 1983 renovation work has been carried out and some of the new murals are reportedly excellent. Adjacent to the monastery there is a basic guesthouse and small but cosy restaurant

According to Michael Palin, it now houses thirty Buddhist monks and thirty nuns,but another source reports that locals say there are only about 20 nuns and 10 monks, although previously there were about 500 monks and nuns living here.

In 2011, Rongbuk Monastery was ranked at the top of CNN’s ‘Great Places to be a Recluse’

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