Monasteries in the sky – Top 5 highest in the world

There is some beautiful monasteries located in the mountains on the high altitude. From all four corners of the world we bring you a list of most exciting monasteries in the world.

1.Khor Virap monasteries Armenia

Originally established in 642 CE, the Khor Virap (Armenian for “deep dungeon”) Monasteries did not take on its current and final incarnation until the 17th century, but even before its founding the former prison site was notable for holding the man who would become Saint Gregory the Illuminator in a pit for 13 years before he helped turn the country into the first Christian nation.

Khor Virap Monastery continues to be a holy site of the Armenian Apostolic Church and an important pilgrimage location which locals often visit for a baptism or after a wedding to perform a “matagh” or “sacrifice,” often of sheep or chicken. The walled, religious complex also stands before the snowcapped flanks of Mount Ararat, offering a spectacular view of the mountain and cutting a striking silhouette in and of itself.

monasteries armenia

2.Paro Taktsang  monasteries Bhutan

Dreaming of Bhutan and one is already on cloud nine. This “Land of the Thunder Dragon” is unquestionably a Himalayan paradise, where religion and mysticism is the way of life. Traversing via the hairpin bends in this charming mountainous terrain is a real thrill as one finds lush green valleys on one side and steep hillsides dotting the majestic pines on the other. Nestled amidst this mystifying environment is the Tiger Nest monastery, the bejeweled crown of Bhutan. This splendid monastery is the landmark of this Himalayan kingdom. One visualizes the sensuous soft-cotton-wool mist that envelopes everything in this environment. Visibility is near zero but still that does not deter one’s enthusiasm and one strives hard to get a sneak peek of the Tiger Nest Monastery in Bhutan. The Tiger Nest monastery in Bhutan is counted as one of the fascinating sights in the world. This is the first thing which comes to the cognizance of any mortal while talking about famous monasteries. Why? It is all coz of its splendid visual appeal. Punakha Festival, Thimpu, Dochu La pass, Paro valley are the must see tourist attraction in bhutan. April to May are the best months to visit bhutan. The Tiger Nest Monastery or Paro Thaksang is perched at an altitude 3,120 meters above sea level. An interesting story goes around regarding the name of this monastery. It is said guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava flew onto this cliff riding a tigress and meditated in the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave for time immemorial.

monasteries bhutan

3.The Hanging Temple – China

Hengshan, or Mount Heng, which is located in Shanxi province, is one of China’s Five Great Mountains. Pinned to the side of its cliff face is the Xuan Kong Si, also known as the Hanging Monasteries.  Despite its precarious position, the monastery has been ‘hanging’ in its original position for more than 1,500 years, a testament to the ingenuity of its builders.

The Hanging Monastery is said to have been built in 491 AD, during the late Northern Wei Dynasty. It is commonly believed that the building of the monastery was initiated by a single individual, a monk by the name of Liao Ran. In time, however, Liao Ran received help from Taoist builders, who were drawn to the site due to its peaceful and serene atmosphere. The site was perfect for those engaged in meditation, as noises from the ground did not reach such lofty heights. In addition, its height ensured that the monastery was safe from floods. The Hanging Monastery is also protected from rain, snow and sun as it is sheltered by the mountain’s peak. This is one of the reasons for the monastery’s continual existence over the centuries.

monasteries china

4.Hozoviotissa monasteries – Greece

The legend of the Hozoviotissa Monastery (Greek Παναγία Χοζοβιώτισσα) passed through ten centuries of ears and mouths before reaching mine.
This is the version I was told: During the second iconoclast period, in the IXth century, numerous icons were destroyed in Jerusalem. The icon of “the dark-eyed Mary” did not escape this fate, but the two halves were thrown to sea by a wise woman, hoping to save what was left of the icon. One half drifted for an undetermined time before finally being brought to shore at the foot of Profitis Illias mountain. A chapel was built there and, at the start of the XIth century, the Amorgian community decided to replace the chapel by a monastery.

Devotedly fulfilling their religious task, workers started to build the first stone walls, but each day, by morning, the work of the previous day had been destroyed by unknown hands. No prayers or incantations would help them succeed in their endeavour. One morning, a shepherd, leading his goats along a path 300 metres above the level of the sea, noticed something hanging off the cliff of Profitis Illias mountain. A builder’s tools were hammered into the rock. He hurried back to the village with the news. There, all the villagers came to the only sensible conclusion: it was the will of God that the monastery should be built in that spot. Construction began and it took another 80 years to build the monastery as we see it today.

monasteries greece

5.Popa Taungkalat monasteries Myanmar

The monastery at Taungkalat (meaning ‘Pedestal Hill’) is famed for being home to 37 nats (Burmese spirits), which are represented by statues at the base of the volcanic outcrop. From here, you can climb up the 777 steps to the monastery at the top, where you will find a 360 degree panorama and a labyrinth of shrines to explore.

But beware the macaquesThese little locals may look curious and friendly from a distance, but given half a chance they will steal anything they can get their hands on: food, purse or camera! There are a number of teahouses and beer stations at the base of Popa Taungkalat, serving drinks and simple Myanmar dishes.

monasteries popa