Spituk (Buddhist Monastery in Jammu Kashmir )

Spituk Monastery : located on a hill near the Indus river, this monastery is believed to have been given its name by Rinchen Zangpo, the word ‘Spituk’ means exemplary. Pictures of protective deities adorn the entrance walls on both sides. The main assembly hall has five rows of low seating intended for the monks and a high throne at the far end reserved for the Dalai Lama. Behind the high throne are figures of the Buddha’s various manifestations. The entire left panel of the assembly features an image of Tara, the companion of Avalokiteshvara, and the right panel features images of previous heads of the monastery. The assembly leads to a courtyard which connects one to another, smaller hall, with the centre of attention being the massive statue of Buddha Shakyamuni flanked on either side by the statues of Guru Padmasambhava and the Goddess Tara. Diagonally across from this stands a temple known as the Dolma Lokhang, which boasts 21 magnificent statues of Tara, representative of her various manifestations. One should note that minimal lighting inside the complex makes flashlights essential for visitors.