Rongbuk Monastery in Mount Everest, Tibet

Why is Rongbuk Monastery in Mount Everest so Special?

Rongbuk monastery lies near the base of the north side of Mount Everest at 4,980 metres (16,340 feet) above sea level, at the end of the Dzakar Chu valley(春丕河谷). It is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Nyingma (宁玛派) sect in Basum Township (巴松) and is the highest monastery in the world. 

History and Development of Rongbuk Monastery

Rongbuk Monastery was founded in 1902 by the Nyingmapa Lama Ngawang Tenzin Norbu in an area of meditation huts and caves that had been in use by communities of nuns since the 18th century. Rongbuk Monastery was completely destroyed by the excesses of China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) by 1974, and was left in ruins for several years, as recorded by photo-journalist Galen Rowell in 1981. The monastery’s vast treasury of books and costumes, which had been taken for safekeeping to Tengboche, was lost in a 1989 fire. Since 1983 renovation work has been carried out and some of the new murals are reportedly excellent. Adjacent to the monastery there is a basic guest house  and small but cosy restaurant. According to Michael Palin, it now houses thirty Buddhist monks and thirty nuns, but another source reports that locals say there are only about 20 nuns and 10 monks, although previously there were about 500 monks and nuns living here. In 2011, Rongbuk Monastery was ranked at the top of CNN’s ‘Great Places to be a Recluse’.

Main Attractions-Rongbuk Monastery

In previous times, the Monastery became very active with Buddhist teachings at certain times of the year. It was, and is, the destination of special Buddhist pilgrimages where annual ceremonies are held for spectators coming from as far away as Nepal and Mongolia. These ceremonies were shared with satellite monasteries across the Himalaya also founded by the Rongbuk Lama. These ceremonies continue to this day, notably at the Sherpa Monastery (夏尔巴寺) at Tengboche (汤坡琦). Hermitage meditation caves dot the cliff walls all around the monastery complex and up and down the valley. Mani stone walls, carved with sacred syllables and prayers, line the paths.

Walking forward from Rongbuk Monastery, you will see the famous Rongbuk Glacier, which is the largest among all the hundreds of glaciers formed around the Mt. Everest. The three glaciers north of the Mt. Everest flow south and congregate at a river traversing the foot of the monastery. This is called ‘Rongbuk River’, and the water there is extremely cold. Also, if you want to get to the Everest Base Camp, Rongbuk Monastery is a place that you would pass by.

How to Get to Rongbuk Monastery

Travel with China Dragon Tours (top recommended)

If you want to get rid of hustle of transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Rongbuk Monastery with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on travel.

Nearby Attractions

Useful Travel Tips

1. Visitors who decide to climb the Mt. Everest can also stay here at night. Each room can accommodate 4 – 5 people, but you cannot expect too much from its condition. It is about 8 km to the Everest Base Camp.
2.There is also a small restaurant opened by a Tibetan, the prices there are a bit high. You can take some food in advance.
3.  High Altitude Sickness Avoiding: Bring enough water and some thick clothes, eating more fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and so on.
4. Pay attention to respect the local customs in the monastery.
5. Tibet Travel Permit is a must to travel in Tibet, otherwise, visitors cannot enter into Tibet.