Gue Monastery in Spiti Valley

 In adventure activities, Spiti, Things to do, Travel, Travel Facts, Travel Hacks, Travel Journal, Travel Photography, Travel Story, Travel Tips, Weekend Trips

While traveling from Nako Village towards Tabo Village, there is a diversion ahead of Sumdo, with a road sign that will take you to Gue Monastery in Spiti. Here, you will find the famous 500-year-old Gue Village Mummy in Spiti Valley. It is believed that Sangha Tenzin, a Buddhist monk started his mummification process while he was still alive to protect the village from a deadly infestation of scorpions. It is believed that once the mummification of the monk was complete and his spirit left his body, a rainbow appeared and all the scorpions were gone.

To witness this fascinating mummification process you will need to first reach Spiti Valley and you can plan your Spiti Trip Packages here.

The mummified body of the monk was found after an earthquake in 1975 opened an old tomb but it was excavated much later in 2004.

The mummification here is quite different from those mummies of Egypt. It is said to be the result of a natural self-mummification process called Sokushinbutsu, which strips the body away from its fats and fluids. It is attributed to Buddhist monks in Japan’s Yamagata. This entire process could take up to ten years.

The monks go into slow starvation with a diet consisting of poisonous nuts, roots, herbs, and tree sap. Seated in a meditating posture, the monks die without any moisture in the body, but having all essentials preserved.

The mummy of Sangha Tenzin is seated in a temple in a glass box inside a small room next to the Gue Monastery Spiti Valley, with his mouth open, his teeth and hair intact, and hollow eyes. It is believed that monks who were successful in the self-mummification process were given the honor and status of the Living Buddha.

Only 30 such mummies have been found till date and most of them are found in Japan.

Suggested Read: Sakya Tangyud Monastery

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Gue Monastery- An added attraction

The Gue Monastery is famous for the sacred mummy of the Buddhist monk, who is believed to be more than five centuries old. Besides signifying historical and spiritual values, Gue Monastery is also set amidst a beautiful picturesque landscape.

You can explore the monastery’s intricate architecture, cravings on wood, and painted glass windows reflecting the sun’s rays in a myriad of rainbows.

This monastery is adorned with Buddhist sculptures, vibrant murals, and thangas. You can also interact with the locals to learn about the place’s history and significance. There are cafes in this area where you can relax and rest for sometime as well as indulge in some delicious Tibetan food. 

Besides, exploring the monastery you can also witness the mesmerizing sunrise and sunset views. There are century-old artifacts, books, and manuscripts offering a glimpse of Tibetan culture present in the monastery which you can also go through white visiting. You can also shop for souvenirs such as handicraft items, clothes, keychains, and more from local shops outside the Gue Monastery. 

The Gue Mummy is not just an archaeological marvel, it also holds deep cultural and spiritual significance for the local community. The villagers of Gue revere the mummy as their guardian spirit and they believe that the Gue Village mummy in Spiti brings them blessings and protection to the village.

Gue Monastery in Gue Village is a small village comprising only about 50 to 75 houses and only a few km away from the Indo-China border. Hence, it is a border-sensitive area and if not for the mummy, then the village of Gue would never be popular among tourists visiting Spiti Valley. The journey to the village is an adventure in itself, with winding roads and breathtaking landscapes with snow-capped mountains surrounding you everywhere.

With each passing year, Spiti valley is witnessing a rise in tourism as travelers now have the opportunity to travel and visit this Secret Mummy of India. This mummy has put the Gue Monastery and Gue Village on the global map, providing new opportunities for the locals in the form of homestays and establishing small cafes. 

Previously the Mummy was kept open, inside a small room, on a nearby hilltop, next to the Indo Tibet Police Force camp. One needed to prove their identity and a local village representative or someone from the ITBP camp would come and open the doors of the room. However, with passing time, it was noticed that people tried stealing the hairs of the Mummy and taking it with them as a blessing to keep in their home. 

Hence, a new structure was built near the Gue Monastery and the village society collects entrance tickets of 30 /- Rupees per person to visit the Mummy of Gue in the monastery, which is being spent in the development of the Gue monastery and the nearby area.

Also, the mummy has been kept inside a sealed glass box where it is now safe from environmental damage and pollution as well. The monastery provides amazing mountain views, plan your Spiti Valley Tour and explore these Hidden Gems and Secret places of Spiti valley in India.

Suggested Read: Stays in Tabo Village

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How to reach Gue Monastery

Gue Monastery is at an altitude of 3,280 m in the remote Gue Village. To reach Gue Village, you will have to travel on the NH 05 and as soon as you enter Spiti at the Sumdo Check post from the Shimla side you will have to drive towards Tabo. Just after 3 kilometers further from Sumdo, you will have to take a right turn from Gue Nahla towards the diversion, into a gorge leading approx. 8 km., to reach Gue Village which is also spelled Giu. 

The approximate distance between Shimla to Gue is 350 km. You can explore Gue Monastery and the Sacred Mummy in a few hours on the day you are planning to visit the remote villages in Spiti Valley, like Kalpa/Nako to Tabo/ Kaza, where you will also find good homestays and hotels to stay in.

Best time to visit Gue Monastery

The road from Shimla to Spiti via Kaza remains open almost throughout the year. During winter months too this road is accessible for most part of it except for a couple of days when it really snows heavily in Spiti Valley. 

However, Gue village itself might not be approachable from mid-December to March end due to icy roads, landslides or snow,  making it difficult to travel and reach the village. April to November is the best time to visit Gue Monastery in Gue Village in Spiti Valley. 

Also, it is best avoided during the rainy season due to loose stones and slippery roads or landslides that can block the way in or out to the village disrupting your tour.

Essential Information

  • It is best to plan your tour of the Gue Monastery on Sundays
  •  The best time to visit the Gue Monastery is during early mornings between 7:00 and 11:00 am.
  • It is advised to layer yourself as the temperature drops significantly during the day and the evening. 
  • Always wear comfortable shoes, as visiting the monastery includes a lot of walking. 
  • Keep the environment clean by carefully disposing of all the garbage in the dustbin. 
  • Do not shout or scream in the monastery’s premises and respect their places of worship. 

What is the significance of Gue Monastery?

Gue Monastery is a very sacred place for all the local people living in Spiti Valley and Buddhist people the world over because it is believed to be the Shrine of the Living Buddha,  Sangha Tenzin, who was a Buddhist monk went through the process of self-mummification to protect the village from a deadly infestation of scorpions

How can I reach Gue Monastery, and what is the best time to visit?

You will have to reach Spiti Valley to get to Gue Village. Then from Spiti Valley you can proceed towards Tabo Village and turn towards the diversion just ahead Sumdo Check Post and travel on the same road to reach the village of Gue. The Gue Monastery is situated in Gue Village and it is just at the Indo-China Border and due to its proximity to the border, there is strict security in this area.

Are visitors allowed inside Gue Monastery, and are there any guidelines to follow?

Yes, visitors are allowed inside the Gue Monastery although there are some strict rules that one needs to follow in order to visit the monastery and its nearby areas.

What can visitors expect to see or do at Gue Monastery?

There are a couple of things that you can do while visiting the Gue Monastery. You can pay a visit to the Sacred Mummy, talk to the locals, shop at the nearby local shops and also indulge in some local cuisines in the nearby cafes which have come up recently.

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