Place: Gyuto Monastery
State: Dharamsala, Himachala Pradesh
Gyuto was founded in 1475 by Jetsun Kunga Dhondup and is one of the main tantric colleges of the Gelug tradition. In Tibet, monks who had completed their geshe studies would be invited to join Gyuto or Gyume, another tantric institution, to receive a firm grounding in vajrayana practice. Both of these monasteries used to be in Lhasa, Tibet, but they have been re-established in India. At the time of the Chinese invasion in 1950, about 1000 monks were part of the monastery. 60 Gyuto monks fled to India in 1959. After initially gathering in Dalhousie, India, the monastery was established in Tenzing Gang, in Arunachal Pradesh, India. The main monastery is now based in Sidhbara, near Dharamsala, India. Today, there are nearly 500 monks in the entire order. Ramoche Temple in Lhasa was located inside Gyuto Monastery.
The Gyuto monks are known for their tradition of overtone singing, also described as "chordal chanting" which is said to have been transmitted by their founder. It achieved renown in the West following the release of recordings made by David Lewiston in 1974 and in 1986 by Windham Hill Records.
The monks here practice the major Tantric texts including Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara and Yamantaka. They have passed these lineages on to the younger generation of monks for more than 500 years.
The main chamber of the monastery has a majestic statue of the Buddha and with the backdrop of the snow-clad mountains, this is an extremely serene and peaceful place to spend an afternoon.