Yamalung And Samye Chimpu.

These two sites are both important retreat centers associated with Padmasambhava. To reach Yamalung one walks from Samye north up the sandy Drakmar Valley. After an hour and a half one reaches Drakmar Drinzang, the birthplace of King Trisong Detsen. Only a tiny shrine bedecked with prayer flags marks the site of the small house where the king was born,possibly during a jouney of his parents from Yarlung to Lhasa. A further hour and a half’s walk takes you to the village of Ngamgo,where the river divides into two, the left branch leading via the Gokar pass to Dechen Dzong, the right to Ganden Monastery. Yarlung is two hours up the righ(eastern)valley. Both Padmasambava and his consort Yeshi Tsogyal stayed in this cave  retreat in the cliff face,over which a small chapel has been erected and where a monk care-taker now lives. Higher up is the smaller meditation cave of the translator Vairochana. The founder of Mindroling Monastery, Terdak Lingpa,subsequently found terma at Yamalung in the seventeenth century. Samye Chimpu is a warren of caves located in a scenic natural amphitheater four to five hours by foot(each way). North of Samye monastery up a side valley running parallel and to the east of the Drakmar Valley that leads to Yamalung. In 1776 it was here that Padmasambhava initiated the twenty four adepts of Chimpu( among whom was King Trisong Detsen) into the secrets of the Mahayoga tantras. Both he and Yeshi Tsogyal lived here for extended periods. Although all the caves were desecrated during the cultural revolution, they have now returned to their original use as places for retreat and as many as a hundreds monks,nuns and lay practitioners( even the occasional western Buddhist) might be at Chimpu at any one time. The main cave is the Drakma Ketstang, where Padmasambhava is said to have given teaching to his eight main disciples. A prominent white temple has been built around the cave.Above this cave is a small residential building,not far from which is the Vairochana cave,where the great early translator of the same name meditated. Towering above Chimpu is the Sangdok pelri peak,buried in which are many other retreat caves where several notable figures within the Nyingma tradition such as Longchen Rabjampa and Jigme Lingpa stayed.Two circumambulation paths will take you around the peak.