Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lödrö Institute – A stunning & full of colours Buddhist Revelation around Himalayan terrains of Bir billing & peaceful landscapes of Chauntra in Himachal Pradesh

Most of the times we aim for destinations and may not give importance to places on our way. But real exploration is when you give equal importance to the journey. In fact, at times I have regretted about not enjoying the journey and usually excuse is time :). Anyways, today we are sharing about a place which we explored on our way to Barot valley and it was one of the best breaks we took. This place always remained special for me and visited a few times again. It's Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lödrö Institute in a town called Chauntra in Himachal Pradesh. Let's check out this blogpost to know more about this place, how to reach and some of the details around other places to explore around Chauntra.

Most of the times we aim for destinations and may not give importance to places on our way. But real exploration is when you give equal importance to the journey. In fact, at times I have regretted about not enjoying the journey and usually excuse is time :). Anyways, today we are sharing about a place which we explored on our way to Barot valley and it was one of the best breaks we took. This place always remained special for me and visited a few times again. It's Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lödrö Institute in a town called Chauntra in Himachal Pradesh. Let's check out this blogpost to know more about this place, how to reach and some of the details around other places to explore around Chauntra. 
We were fortunate to publish about Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lödrö Institute in Times of India a few years ago and above image is a cutting of newspaper.   Often an unplanned detour opens a whole new world to you, and sometimes a chance visit to an unknown place can change the entire mood of your travel. A traveler will easily identify with these feelings. Not many people include the Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lödrö Institute in their itineraries when they visit Himachal pradesh. In fact, very few people are even aware of its existence.

We were fortunate to publish about Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lödrö Institute in Times of India a few years ago and above image is a cutting of newspaper. 

Often an unplanned detour opens a whole new world to you, and sometimes a chance visit to an unknown place can change the entire mood of your travel. A traveler will easily identify with these feelings. Not many people include the Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lödrö Institute in their itineraries when they visit Himachal pradesh. In fact, very few people are even aware of its existence. 

But while travelling on the pretty, narrow roads through the tiny town of Chauntra in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, you do not realize when the dissonance of the everyday market scenes is replaced by the harmony one often associates with spiritualism.  For a long time, you travel through fragrant fields and houses, from where Tibetan faces gaze at you with such good-natured familiarity that you feel that the land and the air are both opening their arms to you. As you leave the houses behind, a blissful anticipation grows in your heart and a red building finally breaks through the horizon and gradually begins to take a shape.

 But while travelling on the pretty, narrow roads through the tiny town of Chauntra in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, you do not realize when the dissonance of the everyday market scenes is replaced by the harmony one often associates with spiritualism.  For a long time, you travel through fragrant fields and houses, from where Tibetan faces gaze at you with such good-natured familiarity that you feel that the land and the air are both opening their arms to you. As you leave the houses behind, a blissful anticipation grows in your heart and a red building finally breaks through the horizon and gradually begins to take a shape. 

The colour red isn’t usually associated with peace and tranquility. But one look at this building and your perception of red changes forever. The majestic building, which is the monastery, presides over the sprawling grounds, surrounded by the green hills and resonant with the chirping of birds and the gushing of wind in the trees. In the circular dormitory, a lone monk sits against the pillar, engrossed in his scholarly exploration of the theories of Buddhism, or perhaps English, which is taught in the institute with a vision to enable the Buddhist teachers to spread the teachings of Buddha across cultural and linguistic borders. There is such concord between the Institute and the surroundings that it is difficult to imagine what the landscape would have looked like before the institute was constructed hardly a decade back. The Tibetan way of life seems so prevalent that you have to force yourself to remember that the institute was inaugurated as recently as 2004, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and several other lamas and dignitaries.

The colour red isn’t usually associated with peace and tranquility. But one look at this building and your perception of red changes forever. The majestic building, which is the monastery, presides over the sprawling grounds, surrounded by the green hills and resonant with the chirping of birds and the gushing of wind in the trees. In the circular dormitory, a lone monk sits against the pillar, engrossed in his scholarly exploration of the theories of Buddhism, or perhaps English, which is taught in the institute with a vision to enable the Buddhist teachers to spread the teachings of Buddha across cultural and linguistic borders. There is such concord between the Institute and the surroundings that it is difficult to imagine what the landscape would have looked like before the institute was constructed hardly a decade back. The Tibetan way of life seems so prevalent that you have to force yourself to remember that the institute was inaugurated as recently as 2004, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and several other lamas and dignitaries.  

While sitting on the steps that lead up to the entrance of the monastery or while clicking pictures, it is easy to lose yourself in the serene surroundings. But it is important to remember that this complex isn’t really on the tourist circuit and is primarily an educational institute so there may be a chance that the tourists may not be granted permission to enter on a particular day or at a specific time. But at other times, if you are fortunate, you may even get an opportunity to enter the monastery and walk barefoot along the wooden desks where it is easy to conjure up the images of mystical monks engaging in their holy discourse. The symphony of colours all around carries you up to the magnificent, imposing statue of Buddha, surrounded by intricately carved leaves and golden Buddhas in various poses.

While sitting on the steps that lead up to the entrance of the monastery or while clicking pictures, it is easy to lose yourself in the serene surroundings. But it is important to remember that this complex isn’t really on the tourist circuit and is primarily an educational institute so there may be a chance that the tourists may not be granted permission to enter on a particular day or at a specific time. But at other times, if you are fortunate, you may even get an opportunity to enter the monastery and walk barefoot along the wooden desks where it is easy to conjure up the images of mystical monks engaging in their holy discourse. The symphony of colours all around carries you up to the magnificent, imposing statue of Buddha, surrounded by intricately carved leaves and golden Buddhas in various poses.  

Even though this encounter doesn’t come as a surprise, it still retains the power to inspire you with awe and, if your mind is receptive, a chance to realize how miniscule we actually are in the larger scheme of things. One leaves this place either speechless or on a spiritual high that only a long, meaningful interaction with nature can induce.

Even though this encounter doesn’t come as a surprise, it still retains the power to inspire you with awe and, if your mind is receptive, a chance to realize how miniscule we actually are in the larger scheme of things. One leaves this place either speechless or on a spiritual high that only a long, meaningful interaction with nature can induce.  

Let's also talk about how to reach Chauntra and specifically Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lödrö Institute :  By Air : Nearest airport is in Gagal of Kangra and from there one can take a taxi for Chunatra.   By Train : Main railway track around Chauntra is  in Pathankot but narrow gauge train track is very close to Chauntra as this track connects further till Jongindernagar.   By Road : Chauntra is on highway which connects Palampur with Mandi. On the way from Palampur to Chauntra you also cross Baijnath.   There is a map at the bottom of this post which shows Chauntra on map and how it's connected to main towns of Himachal Pradesh and important cities of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.

Let's also talk about how to reach Chauntra and specifically Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lödrö Institute :

By Air : Nearest airport is in Gagal of Kangra and from there one can take a taxi for Chunatra. 

By Train : Main railway track around Chauntra is  in Pathankot but narrow gauge train track is very close to Chauntra as this track connects further till Jongindernagar. 

By Road : Chauntra is on highway which connects Palampur with Mandi. On the way from Palampur to Chauntra you also cross Baijnath

There is a map at the bottom of this post which shows Chauntra on map and how it's connected to main towns of Himachal Pradesh and important cities of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.   

Here is a photograph of road facing beautiful hills with cloud shadows on them. This road connects Chauntra Town with Dzongsar Monastery which is about 2 kilometers for Chauntra Town. Entry gate on other end of this Monastery was really welcoming. After parking our car outside the gate, we entered into the campus and there was a huge temple on right side and a huge series of yellow buildings on left. The Red Temple you see in first photograph was on right.

Here is a photograph of road facing beautiful hills with cloud shadows on them. This road connects Chauntra Town with Dzongsar Monastery which is about 2 kilometers for Chauntra Town. Entry gate on other end of this Monastery was really welcoming. After parking our car outside the gate, we entered into the campus and there was a huge temple on right side and a huge series of yellow buildings on left. The Red Temple you see in first photograph was on right.

This is the exact view we see from entry gate of  Monastery of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute. For some time, we were simply amazed by the hugeness and beauty all around. It was first time that we were seeing such a huge Monastery and very well maintained campus with great peace. Overall environment was very peaceful and kind of unmatchable. Later on we saw some of the oldest monasteries in Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh, which itself is an exceptional experience.

This is the exact view we see from entry gate of  Monastery of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute. For some time, we were simply amazed by the hugeness and beauty all around. It was first time that we were seeing such a huge Monastery and very well maintained campus with great peace. Overall environment was very peaceful and kind of unmatchable. Later on we saw some of the oldest monasteries in Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh, which itself is an exceptional experience. 

As we moved further and came to the middle of this campus, above was the view on right. Now next thing was to go inside and see it's interiors. Main temple was closed and then one of our friends started moving  around to figure out the way to get it opened. She found someone close to their office and we were able to see interiors.

As we moved further and came to the middle of this campus, above was the view on right. Now next thing was to go inside and see it's interiors. Main temple was closed and then one of our friends started moving  around to figure out the way to get it opened. She found someone close to their office and we were able to see interiors.

Monastery of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute at Chauntra is one of the important educational institutions. Just in front of this temple there is a huge building and we noticed some monks moving around the space. It looked like the place where students stay or probably some part is also dedicated for studies. While in this campus, some of us were planning to explore possibilities of coming to this place and learn meditation, if possible.

Monastery of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute at Chauntra is one of the important educational institutions. Just in front of this temple there is a huge building and we noticed some monks moving around the space. It looked like the place where students stay or probably some part is also dedicated for studies. While in this campus, some of us were planning to explore possibilities of coming to this place and learn meditation, if possible.

Somehow, we figured out way to open the main temple. One of the Monk was in on first floor who had the main key. It was time to take off the shoes and go inside.

Somehow, we figured out way to open the main temple. One of the Monk was in on first floor who had the main key. It was time to take off the shoes and go inside. 

Few weeks back we have seen marvelous Interiors Monastery of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute of - HERE. This Photo Journey will take you through campus tour of Dzongsar Monastery. Let's take a wonderful tour to this wonderful place in a valley surrounded by snow capped hills of Dhauladhar Mountain Ranges..Here is a photograph of road facing beautiful hills with cloud shadows on them. This road connects Chauntra Town with Dzongsar Monastery which is about 2 kilometers for Chauntra Town. Entry gate on other end of this Monastery was really welcoming. After parking our car outside the gate, we entered into the campus and there was a huge temple on right side and a huge series of yellow buildings on left. The Red Temple you see in first photograph was on rightThis is the exact view we see from entry gate of  Monastery of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute. For some time, we were simply amazed by the hugeness and beauty all around. It was first time that we were seeing such a huge Monastery and very well maintained campus with great peace. Overall environment was very peaceful and kind of unmatchable.As we moved further and came to the middle of this campus, above was the view on right. Now next thing was to go inside and see it's interiors. Main temple was closed and then one of our friends started moving  around to figure out the way to get it opened. She found someone close to their office and we were able to see interiors which can be seen at - http://phototravelings.blogspot.com/2012/05/interiors-at-monastery-of-dzongsar.htmlMonastery of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute at Chauntra is one of the important educational institution. Just in front of this temple there is a huge building and we noticed some monks moving around the space. It looked like the place where students stay or probably some part is also dedicated for studies. While in this campus, some of us were planning to explore possibilities of coming to this place and learn meditation, if possibleSomehow, we figured out way to open the main temple. One of the Monk was in on first floor who had the main key. It was time to take off the shoes and go inside.Things designed of the walls of this temple were very colorful and differentHere is first view you get after entering into the temple. A series of seats on both sides and a huge statute of budha in golden color. All vibrant colors were used inside the temple. There was pin drop silence and everyone of us didn't want to spoil this silence. Imagine spending 15 minutes at such a place and no talk at all :Here is a closer look at Golden Statute of Budha inside Monastery of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute @ Chauntra Town of Mandi District in Himachal Pradesh, IndiaMoving ahead of temple, there is some open space on right and few beautiful structures facing snow covered peaks of Dhauladhar Mountain Ranges. btw, Clouds were indicating something although everyone ignored :Snow covered hills in the background are more noticeable in this photograph. This whole stretch from Chauntra to Dharmshala has this wonderful view of Dhauladhar Mountain Ranges, which can usually be seen with snow layers.Here is a view when we moved back to look at the temple - Temple on left with main gate in the frame and clouds covering front hills of Jogindernagar ... Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute is administered by Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk until his passing in 2008. Khenpo Jamyang Lösel is the new abbot, together with a faculty of ten khenpos. The student body is composed of over 500 monks from various locales and monasteries, representing all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The curriculum encompasses a complete theoretical education in Buddhist Philosophy over nine years of study (for a Shastri degree) or eleven years of study (for an Archarya degree). Graduates may pursue further studies and responsibilities and become teachers or khenpos. Many Dzongsar graduates are now teaching the teachers of tomorrow, ensuring that the lineage of the Buddha remains unbroken. (Courtsey - http://www.siddharthasintent.org/centres/monastic-centres/chokyi-lodro-institute.html We thought of sitting on temple stairs for sometime and enjoy this peace. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute produces lot of highly qualified professionals. The primary language of instruction at Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute is Tibetan. This Institute also runs an intensive English language program, sponsored by Khyentse Foundation, for students in level 10 upward, to fulfill Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche's vision of a more worldly-wise set of teachers who can travel and teach across many physical and cultural divides. Khyentse Foundation also sponsors the basic operating needs of the Institute. (Courtsey - http://www.siddharthasintent.org/centres/monastic-centres/chokyi-lodro-institute.html)

Things designed of the walls of this temple are very colorful and different. 

Here is first view you get after entering into the temple. A series of seats on both sides and a huge statute of budha in golden color. All vibrant colors were used inside the temple. There was pin drop silence and everyone of us didn't want to spoil this silence. Imagine spending 15 minutes at such a place and no talk at all :)

Here is first view you get after entering into the temple. A series of seats on both sides and a huge statute of budha in golden color. All vibrant colors were used inside the temple. There was pin drop silence and everyone of us didn't want to spoil this silence. Imagine spending 15 minutes at such a place and no talk at all :) 

Here is a closer look at Golden Statute of Budha inside Monastery of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute @ Chauntra Town of Mandi District in Himachal Pradesh, India

Here is a closer look at Golden Statute of Budha inside Monastery of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute @ Chauntra Town of Mandi District in Himachal Pradesh, India

Moving ahead of temple, there is some open space on right and few beautiful structures facing snow covered peaks of Dhauladhar Mountain Ranges. btw, Clouds were indicating something although everyone ignored :)

Moving ahead of temple, there is some open space on right and few beautiful structures facing snow covered peaks of Dhauladhar Mountain Ranges. btw, Clouds were indicating something although everyone ignored :)

Snow covered hills in the background are more noticeable in this photograph. This whole stretch from Chauntra to Dharmshala has this wonderful view of Dhauladhar Mountain Ranges, which can usually be seen with snow layers.

Snow covered hills in the background are more noticeable in this photograph. This whole stretch from Chauntra to Dharmshala has this wonderful view of Dhauladhar Mountain Ranges, which can usually be seen with snow layers. 

Here is a view when we moved back to look at the temple - Temple on left with main gate in the frame and clouds covering front hills of Jogindernagar ...   Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute is administered by Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk until his passing in 2008. Khenpo Jamyang Lösel is the new abbot, together with a faculty of ten khenpos. The student body is composed of over 500 monks from various locales and monasteries, representing all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The curriculum encompasses a complete theoretical education in Buddhist Philosophy over nine years of study (for a Shastri degree) or eleven years of study (for an Archarya degree). Graduates may pursue further studies and responsibilities and become teachers or khenpos. Many Dzongsar graduates are now teaching the teachers of tomorrow, ensuring that the lineage of the Buddha remains unbroken.

Here is a view when we moved back to look at the temple - Temple on left with main gate in the frame and clouds covering front hills of Jogindernagar ... 

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute is administered by Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk until his passing in 2008. Khenpo Jamyang Lösel is the new abbot, together with a faculty of ten khenpos. The student body is composed of over 500 monks from various locales and monasteries, representing all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The curriculum encompasses a complete theoretical education in Buddhist Philosophy over nine years of study (for a Shastri degree) or eleven years of study (for an Archarya degree). Graduates may pursue further studies and responsibilities and become teachers or khenpos. Many Dzongsar graduates are now teaching the teachers of tomorrow, ensuring that the lineage of the Buddha remains unbroken. 

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute produces lot of highly qualified professionals. The primary language of instruction at Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute is Tibetan. This Institute also runs an intensive English language program, sponsored by Khyentse Foundation, for students in level 10 upward, to fulfill Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche's vision of a more worldly-wise set of teachers who can travel and teach across many physical and cultural divides. Khyentse Foundation also sponsors the basic operating needs of the Institute.

When we climb up from Aehju to Bir-Billing in Himachal Pradesh, from top we see a huge Monastery which looks amazing from World's popular Paragliding site (Bir Billing).  These photographs don't do justice to the beauty, cleanness and sharp features of interiors. All these photographs are clicked inside a huge temple in this campus. We spend around 20 minutes at this place and most around the temple you see through these photographs. There is a huge area inside the temple and lot of seating places are aligned around the pillars you see in photograph below.

When we climb up from Aehju to Bir-Billing in Himachal Pradesh, from top we see a huge Monastery which looks amazing from World's popular Paragliding site (Bir Billing).

These photographs don't do justice to the beauty, cleanness and sharp features of interiors. All these photographs are clicked inside a huge temple in this campus. We spend around 20 minutes at this place and most around the temple you see through these photographs. There is a huge area inside the temple and lot of seating places are aligned around the pillars you see in photograph below.

On the other end, there is a huge statue of Budha and there is a main seat in front of this statue, which is for HH Dalai Lama. Apart from main seat in front, there is a seat on left side where main Guru or the Institute sits. Whole area inside the temple is quite colorful. Light was very less when we visited inside the temple.

On the other end, there is a huge statue of Budha and there is a main seat in front of this statue, which is for HH Dalai Lama. Apart from main seat in front, there is a seat on left side where main Guru or the Institute sits. Whole area inside the temple is quite colorful. Light was very less when we visited inside the temple.

As shown in above photograph, there are huge lamp shades made up of cloth. I wanted to know more about these but there was no one around the place. In fact, I have seen these coming down in photographs, during some of their festivals.

As shown in above photograph, there are huge lamp shades made up of cloth. I wanted to know more about these but there was no one around the place. In fact, I have seen these coming down in photographs, during some of their festivals.

A closer look at huge statue of Budha @ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute. It located on the way from Baijnath to Jogindernagar. It's actually located at a small town named as 'Chauntra'. Hardly 2 kilometers from main highway which connects Dharmshala with Mandi/Kullu.

A closer look at huge statue of Budha @ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Institute. It located on the way from Baijnath to Jogindernagar. It's actually located at a small town named as 'Chauntra'. Hardly 2 kilometers from main highway which connects Dharmshala with Mandi/Kullu.

Some of the other interesting places to explore around Chauntra are :  Bir Billing Baijnath Barot Valley Palampur Dhamrshala Mcleodganj  Mandi

Some of the other interesting places to explore around Chauntra are :


If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -

- Manage your waste well and don’t litter.
- Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
- Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
- Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
- Don't play loud blaring music in forests or jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite.

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