Gar Monastery མགར་དགོན་ is a true hidden gem in Tibet. Located in a remote part of the Kham region in Nangchen county, Gar Monastery is set in one of the most beautiful locations of any monastery in Tibet. This Drigung Kagyu sect monastery was founded in the 18th century. It is located in the Dza River valley at an elevation of around 4000m. An evergreen forest surrounds the monastery while craggy mountain peaks can be seen all around. A small lake is also located in the valley below the monastery. The area around Gar Monastery provides excellent opportunities for hiking.
The monastery has two sections: an upper and a lower. The lower section has a school for young novice monks and also has a small village nearby. The upper section is built alongside a crazy rock wall face that looks impossible to reach. The road to the upper monastery is actually quite good. The view from the top is amazing. Currently, there are around 90 monks at Gar Monastery, many of them under the age of 20. A new dormitory was recently completed next to the upper monastery.
Tame deer and monkeys (yes, monkeys!) can be found around the monastery. The deer are very tame and are possible to pet. Monkeys are also found in this wooded region of Tibet and the monastery has a couple of them as pets. It is possible to see monkeys in the wild along the wooded valley leading up to the monastery. The valley going up to the monastery has a "tent hotel" during the summer months that are worth staying at. These tents are comfortable and are set up in a grassy field surrounded by evergreen trees and rocky mountains.
Gar Monastery is located around 70kms south of the Nangchen capital town of Sharnda. There is no public transportation to the monastery, though there are plenty of taxi's that can take you there. Very few foreign tourists go to Gar. If you like remote Tibetan monasteries that offer great hiking and stunning views, I highly recommend going to Gar.
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