The Rongbuk Monastery (5,000 m. (16, 404.2 ft.), is located at the northern foot of Mt. Everest. The monastery was originally built in 1902 by a Nyingmapa Lama. The area where Rongbuk Monastery was built that had been used by monks and hermits for meditation for over 400 years. The monastery is located 5,000 meters above sea level near the north side base camp of Mount Everest, making it the highest monastery in the world. It is a monastery of the Nyingma sect of Buddhism. It now houses about thirty monks and nuns, but in the past it housed as many as 500. Hermitage meditation caves dot the cliffs around the monastery, and many stones carved with prayers and sacred symbols line the paths to them.
Seen from Rongbuk Monastery, the Mt. Everest appears like a lofty pyramid surrounded by mountains that touch the sky. On sunny days, a pile of thick clouds, just like a white flag floats lightly above the peak, which is known to be the miracle of ‘The Highest Flag Cloud in the World’. Nowadays, with the golden travel boom to Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery is gradually becoming a highlight for the tourists in its own right.
Monks and nuns live in the same monastery and celebrate the Buddhist festivals together. From 15th April of the Tibetan Calendar the monastery will hold a Buddhist dancing ceremony, which will last for three days. This is held to celebrate the birth of Sakyamuni, which is known as Saka Dawa Festival. During the play, many monks disguise themselves as Rabbis and dance many scenes one after another, and most scenes portray different characters and clothing. The noisy and special activity often attracts many local residents and visitors to the temple. Another Tibetan festival is held on 29th December of Tibetan Calendar to placate wandering ghosts, and monks wearing masks also perform this grand ceremony.
Walking forward from Rongbuk Monastery, you will see the famous Rongbuk Glacier Zone, which is the largest among all the hundreds of glaciers formed around the Mt. Everest. The three glaciers north of the Mt. Everest flow south and congregate at a river traversing the foot of the monastery. This is called ‘Rongbuk River’, and the water there is extremely cold.
Located near the Rongbu Monastery is the famous Rongbu Glacier, which is the largest of the hundreds of glaciers, located around Mount Everest. The three glaciers that are located on the north side of Mount Everest meet at a river called Rongbu River. The water in the river is extremely cold all year round.
The Rongbu Monastery can be reached from Lhasa-Shigatse-Nepal highway. The monastery has recently been renovated, and has a simple guesthouse and restaurant. There are a few hostels located around the monastery and each room can house four to five people.
Rongphu Monastery and Everest Base Camp Travel tips
Rongbuk Monastery is about 103km to the south of China-Nepal Sino Highway-Shegar Town Point. It is the highest monastery between Nepal and Tibet. It is about 700km to the southwest of Lhasa and about 360km to the northeast of Kathmandu, Nepal. So we can get to Rongphu Monastery from Lhasa or from Nepal. Besides, travelers who decide to climb the Mt. Everest can also stay here at night. It is about 8 km. (4.97 mi.) to the Everest Base Camp and a good point to appreciate the scenery there at dawn and dark. In front of the monastery are a white pagoda and a Mani Stone pile, which are often selected as the foreground to take photographs of Mt. Everest. There is a guesthouse and a few hostels around the monastery. Each room can accommodate 4 to 5 people but for most westerners travelling to Everest Base Camp, they prefer to stay in Campsite tent guesthouses which is the in the middle between Rongphu and EBC as you may have even better and closer view to Mt. Everest. For travellers with Everest Base Camp in tour itinerary, they can get local simple food in Rongphu Monastery or in Campsite tent area. There is simple food with little bit high prices than in Lhasa as there is no much choice there.