Inside Tengboche Monastery: The Jewel of Everest & Sherpa culture

Tengboche is a pristine and spiritual land of the devotees which lies in the Khumbu valley of eastern Nepal. The place is so sincere to its nonviolent cause that none of the animals are ever killed in here.



Tengboche Monastery (Thyangboche or Dawa Choling Gompa) is a Tibetan-Buddhist monastery built by Lama Gulu with the help of the Sherpa inhabitants of greater Khumbu valley. Located in the Khumjung village at 3,867 m (12,687 ft), it is the highest monastery in the world and the largest in the entire region.

The monastery falls under the Sagarmatha National Park, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, therefore protecting and maintaining this historic landmark is equally initiated by the park’s trust along with other stakeholders.

Thyangboche must be one of the most beautiful places in the world. The height is well over 12,000 feet […] it provides a grandstand beyond comparison for the finest mountain scenery that I have ever seen, whether in the Himalaya or elsewhere.

~John Hunt (British Expedition of Everest ’53)


the main entrance to the monastery is guarded by the statues of mythic lions

The main entrance to the monastery is guarded by the statues of mythic lions

Built by Lama Gulu (Chatang Chotar) in 1916 with the blessings of Ngawang Tenzin Norbu, it pays homage to Lama Sangwa Dorje, a great Buddhist divine being.

Tengboche monastery is the first celibate monastery under the Nyingma lineage of Vajrayana Buddhism. A nunnery called Debuche Nunnery (Ani) was also established in the vicinity, administered by Tengboche monastery, as Vajrayana Buddhism doesn’t discriminate between the sexes and promotes the divine teachings to the interested ones.

#1 1939 Earthquake

The monastery was badly destroyed by the massive earthquake of 1939, which not only effected the Tengboche but the entire nation. Many of its ancient relics, scripture and sculptures were destroyed or lost. The monks and the local community, with support from a skilled carpenter from Lhasa, re-established the monastery.

#2 Crisis of 1989

The monastery was engulfed in massive fire in January 1989 because of an electric short-circuit causing devastation of almost entire property, along with old artifacts and records. The bystanders managed to salvage some books and paintings. Since then, it has completely been rebuilt.

The renovation of the property has been carried out under Tengboche Monastery Development Project, Sir Edmund Hillary & Himalayan Trust and American Himalayan Heritage Foundation, along with occasional donations from the trekkers and others sources.

Everest Panorama Trek

Trekkers posing at Everest Base Camp

Trekkers posing at Everest Base Camp

Tengboche village falls en route to Everest Base Camp, the most popular trek trail in the world. Staying in the village and spending time exploring the cultural and historic riches of the region as well as the monastery can offer you with insightful resources on the greater Sherpa culture and Vajrayana Buddhism.

Mani Rimdu is the most important local festival held in the region during October-November, a time considered the best for trekking, therefore allowing lucky trekkers to observe the event first hand.

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2 thoughts on “Inside Tengboche Monastery: The Jewel of Everest & Sherpa culture

  1. Pingback: Inside Tengboche Monastery -The oldest Buddhist relic on Everest |

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