Tabo 15/5


The Tabo monastery is over 1000 years old and one of the most beautiful monuments I have ever seen. Monument actually doesn’t describe it very well. From outside the monastery is a collection of unassuming, short, mud and stone structures with no colour whatsoever, very different from the grand modern monastery in Kaza. There are nine temples in the monastery compound, all of which stay locked except for in the morning when the lamps are lit, and on special occasions. But there are plenty of people who look after the monastery who hang around there all day and anyone of them is more than happy to open up the temple and let you have a look.

Entering the main temple, (which is called the ‘Temple of the Enlightened Gods’!) was really like going back a thousand years. On every wall and all over the ceilings are the most delicate beautifully done paintings, and the experience of looking at them is enhanced by the fact they have decided not to put any lights on inside the monastery. So the paintings are lit by streaks of sunlight that come from openings in the roof and the very faint light from the lamps. We were allowed to shine torches on whatever we wanted to see, but no photography is allowed even without flash, so we don’t have any pictures.

Across the main road from Tabo are some steep sandy slopes and a ten minute walk uphill brings you to an old cave settlement. There is also another small monastery near the caves with paintings in similar style to the monastery below. This was apparently where the monks used to live and pray before the Tabo monastery was built. Some of the caves even have a door or a window built in, and Sonam told us that as recently as five years ago, one of the old monks from Tabo went up to the cave to meditate and passed away in the meditation pose.

you can see the monastery here and the farmers working on the fields.

This is one of the many typical Spitian mud houses in Tabo. Most of the houses in Tabo are still built this way, though in Kaza, things are changing pretty fast. Sonam, who is expanding his cafe into a home stay which is being built in the mud house style, was telling us that these mud houses stay warm in the winter and remain cool in the summer. In winter, even though its freezing outside, with temperatures dropping to twenty or thirty below zero, once the fire is lit, the rooms stay warmer than they are even in the summer, and it is often a comfortable twenty or twenty five degrees indoors. He said that the concrete houses are quite useless because the walls stay cold in the winter, and the moisture in the air rises up and freezes on the ceiling, so when the fires are lit, the ice thaws and drips back in to the room.

This is a view from outside our room in tabo. The grill would turn into our clothesline every two days.

and this one is from the terrace. You can see the hay stacks on top. The cows downstairs would make this loud groaning sound every half hour.

this is at the lake nearby

these are iris I think. White and purple ones that are found in random patches here and there giving bursts of colour to the landscape

dont know why buy I really like this photo

two trees that I found to be particularly cool


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