The Chimpu retreat caves gave monks relief from constant study, but were also crucial in maintaining Buddhist traditions during periods of persecution, and in transmitting teachings before formal monasteries were established.
A warren of caves set in a lush U-shaped valley, Chimpu boasts some of the most sacred pilgrimage destinations in Tibet, including the cave where Guru Rinpoche first instructed his Tibetan disciples. Below is Guruta Rock, where Guru Rinpoche displayed his yogic prowess by leaving an enormous footprint. Above and to the left is the meditation cave of Vairocana, where the master translator dwelt for 12 years, eating the naked rock and thus solving the twin dilemmas of food and shelter. Grains and beans are appreciated as gifts by less-gifted retreatants; to understand why, imagine subsisting on tsampa for a year. It is possible to camp here (far from PSB checkpoints), and there is a small store.
Transportation: A truck (15km/9 1/4 miles; 1 hr.; ¥10/$1.30/65p) departs Samye Monastery Guesthouse about 8am, and returns early afternoon. The walk takes 4 hr
Other Information: You will need a permit to get to Samye Monastery
Cost: Free admission