Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun- The largest monastery in India

A sense of calm and tranquillity pervades as one enters the Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun in the mornings. The only noise that is heard is that of the monkeys jumping and playing on the roofs. The monks in red robes go about their chores silently without any pandemonium. The premises is spic and span, devoid of the sea of people that is synonymous with McLeodganj. I am instantly at ease. A glimpse of the Mindrolling Monastery seems like the perfect antidote to the ever chaotic world outside!

 

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

A trip to Dehradun is definitely incomplete without a visit to the largest Buddhist monastery in India – the Mindrolling Monastery.

Locally, the Mindrolling Monastery in Dehradun is also known as the Tibetan Temple or simply as Buddha temple. Its close proximity to the Dehradun Railway Station and the Airforce Selection Board makes it a favourite destination for tourists and visitors.

The road leading to the monastery is narrow, with shops and cafes on either side churning out steaming hot momos, beverages and other delicacies. But then, it is easy to get lost meandering in the lanes if on your own. So keep an eye and do ask for guidance. Oh, by the way! We did miss a lane and a bend, but, then found our way back.

I hope this map that I happened to click on the Monastery complex, proves handy to the readers!

The Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun complex comprises of the stupa, monastery, the monks’ living quarters and other structures as mentioned in the map. This should give us a fair idea of what all to see on a visit to the Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun.

MindRolling Monastery Map

Why the name ‘Mindrolling’?

My first thoughts upon hearing the name ‘Mindrolling Monastery’ was- ‘Why the name mindrolling for a monastery?’

Monasteries are supposedly places to train the minds of monks to be calm, learn and practice the teachings of Buddha and develop an attitude of Zen! So, why should the mind be rolling that too in a monastery??!!

I got my answer when I researched a little more on this and realized that I had been pronouncing the name wrong, all along! The actual pronunciation is ‘Mìn-drolling’.

The Tibetan meaning of Min-drolling is ‘place of perfect emancipation’.

MindRolling Monastery – A brief history

MindRolling Monastery confirms to the Nyingma school which is supposedly the oldest school of translations. Because it has been founded on the first translations of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Old Tibetan in the eighth century. The Nyingma school considers Padmasambhava to be the founder of their tradition.  Padmasambhava was an Indian Buddhist master who lived in the 8th century. He is credited with spreading Buddhism in Tibet. He was also known as Guru Rinpoche.

The original Mindrolling Trichen Monastery in Tibet was severely damaged during the Communist Invasion in 1959. Following the invasion, Khochhen Rinpoche, at the age of 22, escaped into exile in India as one of the seven-member retinues of Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche.

In 1965, Khochhen Rinpoche and a small group of monks began the process of re-establishing the Mindrolling Monastery in India at Dehradun.

A photo tour of the Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

The vibrant Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun looks picturesque and serene with lush green lawns against a backdrop of tall evergreen trees. With the world peace stupa for a company, it looks all the more magnificent.

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

Ngedon Gatsal Ling

Ngedon Gatsal Ling is the main monastery and practice centre of the Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun. Endowed with colourful pillars, elaborate frescoes, vibrant windows and thin wall, the monastery is a melangé of Japanese and Tibetan Buddhist architecture!

Mindrolling Monastery : Corridor ceiling

Photography is strictly prohibited inside the prayer hall of the monastery. I could just capture the colourful murals of the corridor ceiling that was elaborate with floral patterns, curvy dragons and Buddha figurines.

MindRolling Monastery Corridor Ceiling

A closer look at the facade reveals multi-coloured patterns with gold dominating the hues.

MindRolling Monastery

Next to the monastery stands the Stupa. The entry for visitors is from the outside of the monastery. As we were exiting the centre, a frame beside the prayer wheel caught my attention. The colourful structure of Ngedon Gatsal Ling was so empowering that I missed seeing this mantra on the wall!

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun : Prayer

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

The World Peace Stupa

Supposedly, being 185 feet tall and 100 square feet in width, it is the world’s largest stupa displaying beautiful Buddhist art and architecture.The Great Stupa known as the World Peace Stupa representing the descent of Buddha from Devaloka was opened to the public on 28th October 2002.

Mindrolling Monastery

Stupas are basically sombre places of burial that may also enclose sacred relics. The structure of the stupa represents the physical form of Buddha. In Buddhism, there are eight kinds of stupas commemorating the life-events of Lord Buddha as shown in the picture below.

Mindrolling Monastery

The Stupa at Mindrolling Monastery has been built according to the architecture representing No.5 on the board above (Lhabab Choten). Within the stupa are relics of Buddha Kashyapa, relics from Guru Padmasambhava’s tooth offered by Nyenchen Thanglha and other sacred texts.

Each part of a Stupa’s architecture symbolizes a profound thought, quality and aspect of Buddha as well as his teachings and life. You may be interested in reading further on the symbolism from the photos…

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

On the facade of the World Peace Stupa, Maitreya-the future Buddha has been beautifully painted. Descending the steps is the present Buddha, the Buddha Shakyamuni.

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

There are shrines and prayer halls in each of the five floors of the stupa. Only two of the five floors are open to the public.

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

Photography is prohibited inside the prayer halls of the stupa. However, one can know what the shrine rooms encompass from the board

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

Arrayed on either side of the The Great stupa are the miniatures of the eight kinds of stupas.

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

The stupa is surrounded by a 2-acre landscaped garden with a huge prayer wheel and vibrant statues of Padmasambhava and Yangchenma or the deity of wisdom (Similar to Goddess Saraswati).

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

With colourful prayer flags fluttering against a lush green backdrop of tall trees, the monastery looks vividly impressive.

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

The intricate carvings and liberal use of red and gold make the statue of Padmasambhava striking and extraordinarily vibrant.

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

The ornated door was indeed an eye-catcher! It resembled the flamboyant and elaborate Kathakali costume to me!

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

Carved sculptures of dancers and musicians adorn the walls of the premises. An array of Prayer wheels add to the divinity in the air.

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

MIndrolling Monastery Dehradun

 

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

 

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

 

Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

The Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun also contains Ngagyur Nyingma College, one of the largest Buddhist institutes in India.

Visiting Hours of the Stupa

  • Open on all days
  • Summer Timings : 8:00 AM – 12:00 Noon and 02:00PM – 07:00 PM
  • Winter Timings : 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon and 1:30 PM – 06:00 PM

How to reach the Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun

  • Mindrolling Monastery is around 9.5 km from Dehradun Railway Station. Dehradun is well-connected by regular train services to cities Delhi, Lucknow, Allahabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ujjain, Chennai and Varanasi.
  • Its proximity to the pilgrimage towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh makes it a favourite destination for tourists and pilgrims.It can be visited on a day-trip from these two towns.
  • Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is approximately 22 kilometres away from the city centre.
  • Apart from this, Dehradun is well connected to most cities such as Delhi, Shimla, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Agra and Mussoorie by Volvo, Deluxe, Semi-deluxe and Uttarakhand State Transport buses.

Our family trip to the Mindrolling Monastery Dehradun proved to be an experience worth cherishing. I am glad we were able to drive from one end of the city to the other after a quick visit to the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun, on that morning. Do visit this beautiful monastery on a trip to Dehradun if you haven’t yet!

I hope enjoyed this virtual tour of the Mindrolling Monastery in Dehradun as much as I enjoyed putting together the memories of the actual trip! 

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Pin this article for a later read!

Take a virtual tour of the Mindrolling Monastery at Dehradun in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. This is the largest monastery in India. Travel | Asia | India | Uttarakhand | Architecture | Must Visit Place

 

Take a virtual tour of the Mindrolling Monastery at Dehradun in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. This is the largest monastery in India. Travel | Asia | India | Uttarakhand | Architecture | Must Visit Place

 

Take a virtual tour of the Mindrolling Monastery at Dehradun in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. This is the largest monastery in India. Travel | Asia | India | Uttarakhand | Architecture | Must Visit Place

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27 Comments

  1. kerry says:

    I have my presentation tomorrow that i had to present in my department and it was particularly about this monastery, thankfully your help me a lot, i got everything i was searching except what type of tree’s are present on this place. By the way thank you for this post.

  2. Hahaha!!! I get you Meenakshi. I too read it as mind rolling first but then I kinda compared it to Namdroling in Karnataka and decided not to take its english meaning! Lolz.. So, thanks for the clarification and explanation…
    Thanks for letting me know about this place. I’ll make sure to visit it when I plan my Dehradun trip.

  3. When I saw the title “Mindrolling” it literally sent my mind rolling as to why that name. Interesting to know what it actually means and how it is pronounced. The same sect has a stupa in Kallingpong, which I had visited some 8-9 years back but the size and beauty of that one is nothing compared to this! This looks so grand! Very interesting to know about how this monastery came into being and learning more about the place. I always knew the Stupa in Deheradun is considered to be the largest in the world but never knew this was the largest monastery in India! (Always thought Rumtek was the largest).

  4. Wow! I totally understand what you mean by saying that this place is mindrolling! It looks so absolutely beautiful and photogenic. I especially love the ornated doorway, it is amazing. I have never been to India, but this is exactly I picture it to be. I hope I can visit soon.

  5. When I first looked at your post, even I wondered why the name mindrolling! And I am so glad you have clarified it early on. So nice to learn something interesting about this place. I love the frescoes on the walls. And your pictures speak tonnes about the character of the place. Enough to motivate me to put it on my list for Dehradun. Thanks for introducing it to us.

  6. I really like this fun fact with the meaning of the monastery. In fact, you could read it mind-rolling but the original Tibetan meaning is of course much more beautiful. The monastery itself looks beautiful, so huge and impressive. The colors are amazing, I like the positive atmosphere from all your photos.

  7. I heard about the Mindrolling Monastery before but I had no idea it was the largest one in the country! The colors and the design looks absolutely stunning! Reading this beautiful description and short introduction to the history of this place made me sad for not visiting it while I was in India. I’ll surely check it out when I visit again. Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. Thanks for reading,Daniel!

  8. This place looks so beautiful, your photos are stunning and really captured the place. I’ve pinned this for later. Glad you explained what the name meant, I was saying Mind Rolling in my head as well – initially I thought that made sense because it was such a beautiful place. But your explanation was better!

    1. Haha… I got to know that it is pronounced a different much later. Glad you liked the post.Thank you,Paul !

  9. Jane Dempster-Smith says:

    Thank you for your really interesting post. I learnt a lot more about Stupas. Your photos are beautiful. The colours are incredible of the Monastery. What a great place to visit.

    1. Glad you liked reading the post. Thank you,Jane!

  10. I’m pretty blown by your well-researched, wonderfully written article Meenu. You gave Mindrolling temple a whole new dimension with your words. Kudos!

    1. Thanks a ton Natz..Glad you liked the article 🙂

  11. Love your photography skills, Meenakshi. And thanks for the virtual tour of this beautiful monastery!

  12. After a while do all monasteries not start looking the same? I mean if you do not tell me the name and place of this monastery it is very difficult to identify it. Do you think Buddhist are rampantly building monasteries in a cookie cutter model? Just a question to explore?

    1. Again, bing-on.I am infact writing about my not-so-good experience at Mc-Leodganj.They all have a very sombre mood.But I found the Dehradun one much better than the others.

  13. lol Mindrolling! Yeah now it makes sense. We directly thought in English when we saw the name, when it means something completly else in Tibetan and it’s differently pronounced as well. I have not been to Dehadrun yet but I know a lot of girls study in Dehadrun from Spiti Valley in Himachal and they always talked about how they enjoyed going to school there.
    Why do they not allow photos in temples/monasteries? I never understood why because they don’t really give a reason too. I know there is a lots I don’t understand about Buddhism however since our last trip to Himachal I understood that Tibetan Buddhism, for once, is nothing like what it’s shown to be in the western world. It’s darker and more mysterious then that. Sometimes I felt a bit creepy in some monasteries and sometimes I was in awe (as in the ancient Tabo temples with the floating dolls). There is lots to learn!

    1. You are completely right, Helene.They have a very sombre mood around in the monasteries at least in the ones I visited.I guess they do not allow the use of the cameras in ancient temples because of the old murals that may get faded due to strong light.But then, I was myself surprised when they did the same in this new monastery, too.

  14. Your photographs took me there, Meenu! Thanks for clearing the name, I was wondering why it was called Mindrolling too:))

    1. Haha…Thanks for making me feel nice !! I was wondering if I was the only one mispronouncing it wrongly 😀

  15. Beautiful photos and lovely writing from the start. “Place of perfect emancipation,” a phrase to remember.

    1. Thank you so much, Heidi. I am glad you liked the post 🙂

  16. Beautiful place and what a panorama of colour in the photographs. Thanks for the detailed description of the place and the history.

    1. Glad you liked it.Thank you for dropping by 🙂

  17. Oh my my…colours, patterns and the information…what a mix! Thoroughly engaging! Appreciate your eye for details Meenakshi…

    1. Much thanks, Anagha. You are always generous with your comments and appreciation of my blog-posts 🙂 Much love

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