Why are there Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries in Sarkidhar?
Rewalsar, also known as Tse Pemo, holds great religious significance for Tibetan Buddhists. While I was in Rewalsar one day roaming in the streets, I met a guy who told me that Tibetan Buddhists occupied these caves and meditated there. According to him, these caves belonged to Mahabharata times and were used by Pandavas back then. Now, Buddhists meditate there and live there.
Similarly, people also narrate some similar stories about the monasteries in Sarkidhar. These monasteries were located on the way to Naina Devi temple and were close to the homestay where I was staying. Watching those flags in the evening hours was a fascinating moment. I couldn’t find detailed information online about the monasteries of Sarkidhar. It is said that Padmasambhava meditated here in Sarkidhar back then.
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On the second day of my arrival at Sarkidhar, I took a hike to these monasteries in the evening to explore them. These are more of meditation centers where Buddhist monks reside and meditate in isolation. Since hills surround the village, this makes a perfect place to sit and meditate in peace. The tranquil ambiance adds more to the serenity, which is a rare phenomenon.
I found three different locations where these monasteries were located in Sarkidhar. But they were close to each other. I walked into the main area, where lots of meditation chambers are located. So, I found that the entrances of all those small caves had doors and were locked. I didn’t get to see what was inside. All these caves were converted into meditation chambers and residences of Buddhist monks who had been living there for a long time.
One morning, I went to a small room that was located just over the edge of the hill. Scary but beautiful at the same time. One could get panoramic views of the surroundings. Imagine waking up to such views every morning, with birds chirruping everywhere, and there is no disturbance at all. This room belonged to a Buddhist monk. Above it, there was another room.
In the evening, you will find Buddhist monks roaming on the road in the village—some going to Rewalsar, some coming from there. I even saw the nunnery where female monastics lived, their kitchen, and other areas which were probably not allowed to be visited by outsiders. I could only get a glimpse of them from a distance.
These monasteries in Sarkidhar are a prominent tourist attraction and are visited by several Buddhists who come from different places. I even met a group of travelers who had come here from Leh. I would go there every evening, sit somewhere in isolation, in total peace, and stay there for some half an hour to drench myself in the aura of such a tranquil environment.