Lamayuru is the oldest and one of the largest monasteries in Ladakh. As per legends, Lamayuru’s valley was a clear lake at the time of the Sakyamuni. The lake was the dwelling place of the holy serpents. The Bodhisattva Madhyantaka made a prediction that the lake will be emptied and a monastery will be built here. Naropa, a Buddhist scholar visited Ladakh in 11th century and spent many years meditating in a cave.
Naropa then caused a split in the surrounding hillside and due to this the lake emptied. Thereafter, Naropa found a dead lion covered by the waters of the lake. Naropa built the first temple on this spot and named it as the Singhe Ghang (Lion Mound).
Another historical account states that the King of Ladakh ordered the construction of Lamayuru in the 10th century and kept it under the supervision of Rinchen Zangbo. There were five buildings in the original gompa, although only the central one still stands.
In 16th century, Jamyang Namgyal, the then king of Ladakh was cured of leprosy by a monk from Tibet. Thus, the King bestowed the gompa to this lama. Some other benefits were also given such as the area surrounding the monastery was declared a sanctuary where none could be arrested and no taxes were collected. It is due to this, Lamayuru is still considered as the Tharpa Ling, the “Place of Freedom”.
Lamayuru Monastery- June2018
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