The Tabo Monastery is a small village in Lahaul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh (India) situated at 3500 meters mean sea level. It lies 366 km away from State Capital Simla and 275 km from Kullu – a well known hill resort.
The Monastery is located on the bank of Spiti River. The story of this monastery offers a valuable window to Tibetan culture and its history. It is the story of the transmission from India to Tibet of religion as well as art styles.
The Monastic complex consisting of nine shrines was constructed and renovated between 10th to 15th century and an inner chapel suggests its foundation in 966 AD. The most important amongst these shrines is Dukhang. Here stucco images of different Buddhas, Bodhisativas, gods and goddesses surround central figure of Vairocana. Every inch of the walls is embellished with beautiful paintings which are as old as the monastery. The life of Sakyamuni Buddha is also elegantly depicted here. It also contains wooden images and a precious library of manuscripts. Tabo was built earlier than Alchi Monastery of Ladakh, nevertheless both of them contain huge repository of Kashmirian art of 11th century. It also bridges missing links in artistic styles of India and Tibet. The soft and tender expressions of the figures are the conspicuous influence of Ajanta. Tabo is one of few monuments where one can study continuous development of Western Tibetan art from 11th to 20th centuries.