With its thirty six life size clay statues, Tabo Monastery is a national treasure and is also called as the Ajanta of the Himalayas. As you enter Spiti from Kinnaur, Tabo is usually the first stop for the visitors. At an altitude of 3050m, Tabo is home to the the oldest continuously operating monastery in India and the Himalayas.
Just like Kee Monastery, Tabo Monastery was also built by the great translator Rinchen Zangpo, but is different in every way. Built in 996 CE, it is older than any other Himalayan monasteries. Also, it is not built on a hill top. It has nine temples, twenty 23 chortens, a monk’s chamber and a nun’s chamber.
Tips for Travellers
- The meditational caves on the hill above Tabo are a must visit.
- There is no ATM.
- Branch of SBI is open throughout the year.
- Tabo is near China border and is a ‘Partially Protected Area’. So, foreign tourists require permissions when traveling from Kinnaur side. However, they don’t require any permission when traveling from Manali side.
Tips for Adventure Seekers
- Tabo is comparatively a warmer area. So it has less snowfall and remains accessible even in the winter months. Sometimes even the HRTC bus service operates till Tabo in the winters.
- There are some frozen waterfalls for climbing in this area. You may want to explore them in the month of January or February.