Just 10 km off the road toward the east from Nangartse is Samding Monastery sitting on the ridge of a hill, it is about 112 km south-west of Lhasa after visiting Yamdrok Lake, and the monastery itself is located one of the peninsulas of the Lake and overlooks a beautiful smaller lake of Yamdrok complex. You won’t miss the small village about halfway from Nangartse, it has a rare copse of trees, which the locals believe to be the locks of Padmasambhava’s hair.
Samding monastery is the seat of Dorje Phakmo, the wrathful deity Heruka, who was the highest female incarnation in Tibet, and the third highest-ranking person in the Lamaist hierarchy after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. The monastery was built in the 13th century under the supervision of Khetsün Zhönnu Drub to keep away the demons and other evil forces Padmasambhava vanquished throughout Tibet.
Samding Monastery was most noted being headed one of the only female incarnate lamas in Tibet, Dorje Phakmo. The small community was considered unique in that it consisted both monks and nuns. Sarat Chandra Das accounted this special place in his journals during his exploration mission from India during British Raj.
The sacred place was later demolished during Cultural Revolution and considerately rebuilt in 1986. Now, Samding Monastery houses 34 monks and hosts hundreds of pilgrims every day. The road to the monastery is a steep well-paved road to the rear of the monastery, the gate welcomes you to a very silent courtyard between the monks’ private residences and the assembly hall. Entering further in, there are more chapels, temples and the very private residence of Dorje Phakmo. The view from the monastery terrace is outrageously amazing with snow-capped mountains all year round.
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