Urgyelling Monastery

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

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Urgelling Monastery of Arunachal Pradesh was first of the three monasteries built by Urgen Sangpo, the youngest brother of Terton Pempalingpa, the famous Treasure-Revealer. Urgelling Monastery was built sometime before the year 1489 AD. This was the place were in 1683 AD Tsangyang Gyatso, the Sixth Dalai Lama was born.

The birthplace of His Holi Highness the sixth Dalai Lama, the sacred Urgelling monastery lies about five kilometers to the south of the serene Tawang town in the north eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. Surrounded by the graceful Himalayas and the picturesque Tawang-Chu valley, the Urgelling monastery traces its root to the 15th century CE, when around 1489, it was established by Urgen Sangpo as a Buddhist spiritual centre.

A home to the Buddhist monks and Lamas following the Lamaistic Mahayana school of thought, the monastery became a sacred place for the Buddhists since 1683 CE, the year when the sixth Dalai Lama Ngawang Gyamtso was born to the Lama Tashi Tenzin(father) of Urgelling and Tsewang Lhamo(mother) of Bekhar. The monastery was restored and enlarged in the year 1699 by Desi Sangye Gyamtso, and now its renovated look possessed a double storied main temple, an assembly hall with eight pillars, an altar room with four pillars, a deities' chapel with two pillars, a residential quarter for His Holi Highness the sixth Dalai Lama, a chapel to practice the tantric practices, Ka-Gyur house and a courtyard with twenty rooms meant for residential quarters for the monks and the Lamas.

But the glorious days of the monastery soon came to an end in the year 1706 when His Holi Highness the sixth Dalai Lama was deposed by Lajang Khan, and subsequently so was destroyed the monastery by one of his forces in 1714. The invasion also deserted the monastery and all its treasured possessions - scriptures, statues and other holy objects went into the hands of the Tawang monastery.

After going through so many ups and downs, today the Urgelling monastery houses a single temple and shelters some of the monks who lead a simple life and practice meditation and other Buddhist practices.

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