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.