Kagbeni & Monastery
Kagbeni, located at the entrance of Upper Mustang, just half an hour ride by jeep from Jomsom is an oasis with its apple and apricot orchards and barley fields, vibrant with color standing against the vast landscape of silver gray river, stones and stark, brown cliffs on the edge of the Kali Gandaki River. Here on the precipice of a steep cliff and bordered by the Kali Gandaki and the Dzong Khola rivers, sits the Kag Chode Thupten Samphel Ling Monastery founded by the renowned Sakya scholar, Tenpa Gyalsten of Tibet in 1429. The monastery being the center of spiritual life for the local community, who live here, has been well cared for during the past 570 years. Until the middle of the 18th century this monastery housed nearly 100 monks from twelve different surrounding villages practicing Dharma and keeping alive Tibetan Buddhism. Local economic condition and the lack of school and health care facilities have forced many village people to take their families and relocate to larger villages or eventually go to Pokhara, Kathmandu or India leaving the village and more importantly, the monastery with only a few senior monks, too old to leave.