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    Lo Ghekar Monastery-Ghar Gumba in Upper Mustang
    Bhanu Khatiwada
    Bhanu KhatiwadaJul 18th 2024

    Lo Gekar Monastery, aka Ghar Gumba is located in Lo Ghekar Damodar Kunda Rural Municipality, Ward number 01, Marang, in the controlled region of Upper Mustang. Built in the 8th century, before the Samya Monastery of Tibet, which can be claimed as the oldest monastery in the world. This is a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage destination for all the devotees around the world. The story is connected with the arrival of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava). 


    On the way to Upper Mustang-Lo Gekar Monastery

    History and Mythology of the Lo Ghekar Monastery-Ghar Gumba

    Sonam Dondup Gurung (Local of Upper Mustang) narrates a story about the establishment of Lo Ghekar Monastery in Upper Mustang for Lo Ghekar Damodar Kunda Rural Municipality documentary. Below are his words copied. 

    In the 8th Century, the King of Tibet Trisong Detsen, wanted to build a Samyak monastery to popularize Buddhism in Tibet. However, once the construction work started, a monster would visit the monastery at night and demolish, whatever was built during the day. As the construction was not successful, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) was invited from India through Nepal to tame the monster.

    Once  Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) reached Tibet, the monster known as Lo Singmo Gengyal, ran eastwards to Mustang. The monster was carrying salt in his bag and he dropped some salt at a palace called Chhora Sumda. Even the salt can be found there. He dropped a lot of salt in a place called Te and reached Kobang of Lower Mustang. After that, the monster went his way while Guru Rinpoche went another way. While returning, Guru Padmasambhava took a rest at Uche (located between Jomsom and Kagbeni). There's a mark on the stone, where he sat.

    Then Guru Rinpoche reached Chaile, Nyi La, and Ghami. He got tired at Nyi La and took a nap. When he woke up, he was thirsty, so he extracted water at the top of the hill. His footprint can be seen still today. After that, Guru Rinpoche saw something like the monster's head near Ghami. Rinpoche went to the palace of Chakrasambhava in Chungsi and was revered and worshipped there. This place has the footprint of Guru Rinpoche and naturally formed statues of two others- Khando Hijochojyal and Mandarava.

    After that, near Ghami, Guru Rinpoche dealt a fatal blow to the monster's head with a Vajra. The monster's entrails were splattered and were used to form Mandaringma, the longest prayer wheel wall in the world. A Chhorten was built over his bones and the remaining parts of the body. His lungs and blood formed the Dhakmar Hill, which is red even today. Lo Ghekar, a nine-storied monastery was built over the monster's heart. In Lo Ghekar, there's a statue of Guru Rinpoche as well. So, this is the oldest monastery in the Himalayas of Nepal and Tibet.

    Entrance of Lo Gekar Monastery-Ghar Gumba in Upper Mustang

    Best Recommended Lo Ghekar Monastery Jeep Tour Itinerary- 07 Days

    Day 01: Drive Pokhara to Marpha. 

    Day 02: Drive Marpha-Jomsom-Dhumba Lake-Kagbeni-Muktinath and drive to Chhuksang. 

    Day 03: Drive Chhuksang to Lomanthang, and visit Jhong Cave. 

    Day 04: Explore Lomanthang, drive to Lo Ghekar, aka Ghar Gumba, and back to Tsarang. 

    Day 05: Drive to Yara/Ghara Luri Gumba and drive back to Samar. 

    Day 06: Drive back to Tatopani. 

    Day 07: Drive back to Pokhara. 

    Common Faqs about Lo Ghekar Monastery- Ghar Gompa-Upper Mustang

    Where is Lo Ghekar Monastery- Ghar Gompa located?

    Ghar Gumba is located in Lo Ghekar Damodar Kunda Rural Municipality, Ward number 01, Marang

    Why is Lo Ghekar monastery called the oldest monastery in the world?

    Lo Ghekar Monastery was built in the 8th century and was completed before the Samyak monastery of Tibet, although it was started before. For this reason, it is claimed to be the oldest monastery in the world.

    When was the Lo Gekhar monastery built?

    In the 8th Century, Lo Ghekar Monastery was built close to Marang village. Guru Rinpoche who was chasing the devil from the Samyak monastery of Tibet built the monastery there. 

    The altitude of Lo Ghekar Monastery-Ghar Gumba in Upper Mustang

    The plateau, where the Lo Ghekar (Ghar Gompa) is located at an altitude of 12800 feet (3921 meters). This is pretty much high and the landscape is so windy, so you need to have a good wind stopper. 

    What is There Inside the Lo Ghekar Monastery-Ghar Gumba?

    The interior is outstanding and elite inside the Lo Ghekar Monastery. There are various decorations of the Holy books of Buddhism, manuscripts, murals, and statues. You will see a large statue of the precious Tantric master Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) inside the cave. 

    Is it Possible to Overland- Tour to the Lo Ghekar Monastery by Jeep from Pokhara?

    No confusion. Many hidden parts of Upper Mustang are accessible by road and jeep tour from Pokhara. Ghar Gumba is also accessible by 4WD jeep, driven by professional drivers. You may go through the Upper Mustang Tour Videos

    Special Permits to Upper Mustang and Cost

    As you know, Upper Mustang is a controlled region of Nepal, which is also known as a restricted zone without such permits. You need to obtain special permits from the Immigration Department. Another permit you need to have is an ACAP permit, which is obtained from the Nepal Tourism Board's Office.

    The cost for the Upper Mustang Special Permit is 500 USD per person. To obtain the permit, you should be in a group, of at least 2 people as per the rule set by the Nepal government.  

    When is the best time to visit the Lo Gekhar monastery aka Ghar Gumba?

    March-April-May: Remains warmer days- a little bit colder nights. But the views of the Himalayas and the surrounding landscapes look outstanding. 

    June-July-August (As the Mustang region is located in the Himalayan rain shadow area, it is great to visit the caves and monasteries in monsoon time too, when other parts of Nepal are not favorable to visit). 

    September-October-November: Autumn is a great time to visit the caves and monasteries of Upper Mustang during wonderful days having outstanding weather. 

    Some renowned caves and monasteries in Upper Mustang

    Luri Gompa

    Chungsi Cave

    Chodzong Cave Monastery

    Jhong Cave

    For booking Upper Mustang Jeep Tour- Lo Ghekar Ghar Gumba, please contact us via

    WhatsApp: +977 9851159455 

    Email: [email protected] 

    Bhanu Khatiwada
    Bhanu KhatiwadaJul 18th 2024

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