Kardang Monastery is an ancient gompa located at a distance of around 5 km from Keylong in Himachal Pradesh. Nestled at an altitude of 3500 m above sea level, the gompa is located on the banks of the river Bhaga. It is a 900 year old monastery, which falls under Drukpa Kagyud School of Buddhism.
Built in the 12th century, this monastery has an old library, which is known as the largest Buddhist library in the country. The library has Kangyur and Tangyur scriptures written in the Bhotia or Sherpa language. The monastery has a vast collection of Thanka paintings, musical instruments such as lutes, drums, horns and some old weapons.
The gompa was renovated in the year 1912 by Lama Norbu Rinpoche. There is the skull and ashes of Lama Norbu preserved in the first room of the gompa. Statues of Padmasambhava and Tara Devi can also be seen here. The second room known as the Prayer Hall consists of the eleven-headed idol of Avalokitesvara. There is a 6 ft high wooden prayer wheel having a brass bell on it in the third room.
The monks and nuns living in the monastery have equal rights, and they are allowed to have a family life. The monks spend summers with their families, and they return in the winters. A big sized prayer drum is placed in the monastery having the sacred six-syllable mantra ‘Om mani padme hum’, which is written million times on paper.
Shasur Monastery is a pominent tourist attraction located at a distance of 3 km from Keylong in Himachal Pradesh. According to the local dialect the word Shasur means blue pine and a beautiful forest of blue pine is seen in the surrounding of the monastery.
The monastery was constructed in the 17th century by Lama Deva Gyatsho of Zanskar, a missionary of the King Nawang Namgyal of Bhutan. A beautiful collection of Thangka paintings is exhibited in the monastery, and some of them are 15 ft in height. The wall paintings represent the 84 siddhas of Buddhism. An annual ritual, Chham is performed in the monastery during the month of June and July.
Tandi is a prominent village located at Keylong in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Situated at an elevation of 2573 m, this place is at a short distance of 8 km from Keylong, just above the meeting points of the rivers Chandra and Bhaga. As per revenue and settlement records, Raja Rana Chand Ram founded this place under the name of Chandi.
There are different mythologies connected with the place. According to one of them, the mythological characters, namely Chandra, the son of the Moon God and Bhaga, the daughter of the Sun God loved each other. Legend has it that they both eloped and got married at this place. Located on the Manali-Leh Raod, Tandi has the last fuel station for travellers who want to travel to the north of Keylong.
Sissu is a popular village and a famous tourist destination located at Keylong in Himachal Pradesh. Positioned at an altitude of 3100 m above sea level, Sissu is located on the banks of Chandra river and has thick plantation of willows and poplars on either sides of the road. It is so dense and thick that even sunlight cannot enter.
Along with vegetation of potato, peas, buck wheat and barley, wild roses in white, yellow and red can also be seen here. The Gyephang Peak is situated just behind the village. This peak was named after Lord Gyephang, who is regarded as the deity of Lahaul.
A little away from the village, flows the Sissu Nullah from the glaciers of the Gyephang Peak. Another popular attraction of the place, are the two ancient fountain slabs, which date back to the 11th or 12th AD. Moreover, a PWD rest house is also there for the convenience of the tourists.
Udaipur is an exotic tourist destination located at a distance of around 53 km from Keylong in Himachal Pradesh. Positioned at an elevation of 2523 m above sea level, Udaipur is placed at the intersection of the Mayar Nullah. Earlier the place was known as Markul or Margul, and later in the year 1695 it was renamed as Udaipur by Raja Udai Singh of Chamba.
The entire village is surrounded by kail (blue pine) forests. Being situated on a low altitude, dry fruits like walnuts and apricots, and apples grow here. Hermann Goetz, the renowned German composer, who visited the place in 1939, complimented about the natural beauty of the village and compared its scenery with Swiss hillsides.
The place is known for the Trilokinath Temple and the Markula Devi Temple. These two religious sites attract a large number of devotees and tourists from all over the country.
Guru Ghantal Monastery, also known as the Gandhola Monastery is a famous religious centre located at a distance of around 8 km from Keylong. Regarded as the oldest monastery of the Lahual District, this gompa was founded by Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century. The main feature of this monastery is its idols, which are made of wood.
This monastery has a unique architectural style having pyramid-shaped roofs and intricate carvings. Most of the idols have been shifted to another monastery located at the Tupchilling Village, due to the poor condition of this monastery.
Located on the banks of Chandra and Bhaga, this monastery has a damaged marble head of Avalokitesvara, a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of Lord Buddha. The history of this monastery dates back to the time of Nagarjuna in the 2nd century. This monastery has a black stone image of the Hindu Goddess Kali in its private hall, which signifies that the monastery was a temple earlier.
Tayul Monastery or gompa is a significant religious site located at a distance of 6 km from Keylong in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Situated in the village of Satingri at an altitude of 3900 m above sea level, this is one of the oldest monasteries in Keylong. The monastery was established during the 17th century by Dogpa Lama, Serzang Rinchen of Kham region.
Ta-Yul in Tibetan means the ‘chosen place’ and it is known for its beautiful 12 ft sculpture of Guru Padmasambhava, along with Singhmukha and Vajravah, his two materialisations. The main feature of the monastery is the hundred million mani wheel, which is famous for self turnings on special Buddhist occasions. As per the lamas of Tayul, the wheel was self turned last time in 1986.
Gemur Monastery is a 700 year old monastery, located at a distance of about 18 km from Keylong in Himachal Pradesh. Situated in the Bhaga Valley of Keylong, this gompa lies 600 to 700 yards above the Gemur Village. Every year in the month of July, a ‘devil dance’ is organised in the monastery.
The main attraction of this religious shrine is the 11th century statue of goddesses, Marichi and Vajravarahi, who are said to have their origins in Varahi, a Hindu goddess.
Shopping is a popular activity among tourists visiting Keylong. People can shop for rugs, footwear, local tweeds, shawls, natural olive and almond oil, metal craft, silver jewellery, bamboo products, woollen jackets and pullovers.
Trekking and rock climbing are the popular adventurous activities that can be enjoyed at Keylong. The best time for trekking at Keylong is between the months of June and September. There are around 14 trekking routes, which offer adventure opportunity to the travellers. Some of the popular routes include Asha Galli Pass, Kugti Pass, Chobia Pass, Kalichho Pass, Gurhdhar Pass, Rangcha Gali Pass and Kunzom Pass.
Skiing can be enjoyed in the snow covered slopes of Keylong. One of the popular skiing slopes is the Sumnam Slope, which is among the largest ski slopes in the country and is 6.5 km long. Khardang Slope, Gondhala Slope and Triloknath Slope are the other skiing slopes in the area. The skiing equipment is available on rent along with trained guides.
Paragliding is a popular activity enjoyed by the travellers at Keylong from the month of June to September. Facilities for paragliding are available at Rohtang Pass, the gateway to Keylong. Beginners can also take a short duration training course here.
Camping is a popular activity that can be enjoyed at Keylong. The popular sites for camping are Darcha, Jispa, Gemur, Tandi, Koksar and Sissu. There are numerous tour operators who provide local guide and the required sports equipment to the travellers.
Jeep Safari is a known activity at Keylong that is enjoyed by the travellers as it goes through various beautiful routes. Beginning from Keylong, people can enjoy sporty safari to Leh, Kaza, Manali, Udaipur, Kilarand and Tsomo Riri.