Tengboche, a tiny Sherpa settlement in the Khumbu Region, has the most important Buddhist gompa (monastery) in the whole of Khumbu. The Tengboche Gompa, which has a direct link to the Rongbuk Monastery in Tibet, looms over the settlement. The huge monastery is the largest in the region. Overlooking the Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Tawache, Mount Everest, and other peaks, this picturesque village is a popular stop among trekkers on the Everest Base Camp trail.
- The chief attraction of Tengboche village is the beautiful and sacred Tengboche Monastery. Visitors are allowed inside the monastery's prayer hall to witness the elaborate afternoon prayer rituals observed by the lamas (monks).
- Mani Rimdu Festival, the biggest festival of the Sherpas in the Solu Khumbu Region, is celebrated at Tengboche Monastery. Villagers from far and near flock to Tengboche to participate in this colorful festival.
- While Tengboche is popular among tourists for its impressive mountain views and quaint ambiance, locals regard Tengboche as a sacred destination.
- Places of interest close to Tengboche include Pangboche, the oldest Sherpa settlement in the Khumbu, and Ama Dablam Base Camp.
- Tengboche lies within the Sagarmatha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The forest surrounding the settlement is home to rare Himalayan wildlife like the Himalayan Tahr, Blue Sheep, musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan Griffon, Tibetan snowcock, etc.
- Outstanding views of Ama Dablam, Tawache, Thamserku, Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse can be enjoyed from the monastery’s ground and the village.
Tengboche Monastery – History
The Tengboche Monastery or Dawa Choeling Gompa was built by Lama Gullu in 1916. It's an important monastery of the Nyingmapa sect in the Everest Region. The original building got destroyed by an earthquake in 1934 and it took a lot of effort from the locals to rebuild it.
Carpenters from Lhasa were commissioned to build the monastery again, and a renowned painter Kappa Kalden painted the murals inside the monastery. But tragedy struck once again in 1989 when an electrical short circuit inside the monastery led to a massive fire, and the building got destroyed.
The present structure is the rebuilt structure which was constructed under the leadership of Nawang Tenzing Jangpo. Apart from the donations and funds from the local Sherpa community, there have been substantial contributions from the international community to rebuild this sacred monastery. The sacred Tengboche Monastery is now home to about sixty monks.
How to Reach Tengboche?
As there is no road access to this remote village, one will have to reach this village on foot after the flight to Lukla. Trekkers usually reach this village on the fourth day of their trek, having spent the first three days in Phakding and Namche (two days in Namche). The distance between Namche and Tengboche is a little over nine kilometers and it takes around four to five hours hike to reach Tengboche from Namche.
The trail to Tengboche is one of the most scenic as the views open up, and one can enjoy close-up views of the Himalayan peaks. There's a steep descent and an ascent before one finally reaches the traditional gate (kani) of the village. The inside of the gate is painted with murals of Buddhist deities which are believed to protect the traveler from evil spirits. A flight of stone steps leads one to the beautiful settlement of Tengboche.
Also, check out the 10-day Trek package to the Tengboche
When is the best time to visit Tengboche?
Spring and autumn remain the favorite seasons to trek to the Himalayas.
However, the best time to visit Tengboche is during the Mani Rimdu Festival. The festival falls during the ninth lunar month as per the Tibetan calendar which is October or November in the Gregorian calendar.
Mani Rimdu is one of the most important festivals of the Sherpas. It's a Buddhist festival held inside the monastery. Mani Rimdu is only observed at the monasteries of Tengboche, Chiwong, and Thame in the Khumbu Region. The festival lasts for nineteen days but the public is allowed inside the monastery only for the last three days of the festival.
Mani Rimdu is a colorful festival where one can witness monks performing cham(masked dance), religious skits, sacred rituals, and fire worship for the protection of all living beings and peace and harmony in the world.
This sacred Buddhist festival showcases the ancient and rich Tibetan Buddhist heritage of the Sherpas who migrated to Nepal from the Kham region of Tibet centuries ago. If you are interested in Buddhism, you should not miss out on this vibrant mountain festival.
Accommodation and Food
Compared to Namche bazaar, accommodation at Tengboche can be basic or mid-range. The teahouses offer rooms with twin beds or dormitories if you have a large group. There's a common toilet and bathroom, which you share with other travelers. Some new lodges offer rooms with attached bathrooms.
There's Wi-Fi and electricity. You will have to pay extra to use the internet and to recharge your electronic gadgets. The teahouse owners also charge extra for hot showers. Most of the teahouses along the trekking trail offer the same dishes on their menu. You can expect Nepali, Sherpa, Indian, and Tibetan dishes as well as western items like pizza, pasta, macaroni, hash browns, and bread.
The only way to reach Tengboche is via a foot trail. Therefore you need to have a strong pair of legs if you want to visit this charming Sherpa settlement. It will help if you are used to hill walking and hiking, as reaching the settlement involves some steep ascents and descents.
Physical fitness and stamina are very important if you are trekking in the Himalayas, as the mountainous trails and high altitude can be quite punishing and test your endurance level to the max.
Tengboche is a sacred and beautiful destination along the Everest Trail. The small settlement carries a lot of history and is a pilgrimage center for Sherpas of the Khumbu Region. The grand Tengboche Monastery is a jewel of Khumbu and a must-visit destination if you are walking the EBC trail.