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Special Kalachakra Places


From tibet.com:
"On the full moon of March/April, the twelfth month counted from the time he [Shakyamuni] obtained buddhahood, the Buddha was teaching the Paramitayana at Mount Vulture Heap. At the same time he manifested another form inside the great stupa of Shri Dhanyakataka, which is near Shri Parvata in south India where he taught the Mantrayana. The great stupa was more than six leagues from top to bottom, and inside it the Buddha emitted two mandalas: below the mandala of Dharmadhatu Vagishvara, above the great mandala of the splendid asterisms. The Buddha was in the centre on the Vajra lion throne in the great Mandala of the Sphere of Vajra, the abode of great bliss. He was absorbed in the Kalachakra samadhi, and stood in the form of the Lord of the mandala."

  Model of the Great Stupa of Dhanyakataka
  Model of the original Amaravati stupa

The location where Buddha Shakyamuni taught the Kalachakra tantra lies near the ancient town of Amaravati, situated few kilometers away from Guntur on the south of the river Krishna.
From the 3rd BCE to the 12th CE, the city was a flourishing Buddhist center.

According to archaeologists, Amaravati stupa was built in the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE Subsequent additions were made in the 1st-4th centuries CE under both Satavahana and Ikshvaku kings. The site lies close to the ancient Satavahana capital, Dhanyakataka. The stupa was the largest in the eastern Deccan (36.5 m across and encircled by a 4.2 m path). It was a brick structure covered with marble casing slabs. Most of the broken carved capping pieces, railings and posts are removed and displayed in the Government museum in Chennai and the site museum at Amaravati. See also this archaeological page.
The richly decorated stupa attracted pilgrims until the 12th century and was ruined towards the end of the 18th century by a local zamindar Sri Vasi Reddy Venkatadri Naidu in the anxiety to obtain building materials.

From  the website www.kalachakra2006.com:
"Amaravati, which was the location of the grandest stupa in Southern India, has long associations with Buddhism. Indeed, the history of the Amaravati stupa parallels the flourishing of Buddhism in India, from the reign of the Buddhist Mauryan emperors of the 3rd Century BCE to the 14th century CE. The creation and decline of the stupa is linked to the rise and fall of the dynasties of the region, as well as to the growth and decline of Buddhism in Andhradesha, now called Andhra Pradesh, the area bordering the Krishna River.
The founding of the stupa in the 2nd century BCE follows the reign of King Ashoka, when Buddhism had already established a strong presence in Andhradesha. The antiquity of the deposits at Amaravati indicate that society at that time was literate, complex and highly organised. The early stupa seems to have been a simple structure with limestone crossbars and simple carvings, surrounding an unadorned domed stupa. Over the centuries, it was periodically restored and newer elements of various styles were added.
The most important renovation was done in the time of the Shatavahana kings, who had established their capital at nearby Dharanikota. Their reign, from the 2nd to the 3rd century CE, marked the high period of the monument. Extensive building was funded by the many merchants who conducted flourishing business with South Asia and other parts of India; their names could be found carved in the stupa. Most of the elaborate sculptures, which have found their way into museums in India and the British Museum, date from this later period. The content of these works of art suggests that the stupa belonged to the Mahayana period.
Archaeological findings indicate that very little was added to the stupa after the 3rd century CE. It seems that the structure was maintained, although interest in Buddhism declined from that time onwards. When the Chinese monk Hsuan Tsang visited the area in the 7th century, the stupa was already decrepit and Hinduism had revived in the region. Nevertheless, he observed about twenty Buddhist monasteries in the area with about one thousand monks in residence, mostly belonging to the Mahasamghika School.
References to the stupa by a Singhalese monk in 1344 indicate that Amaravati remained an important site. His account of his activities in India, now preserved in Kandy, Sri Lanka, describes how he carried out repairs to the structure. This implies that Buddhists from other countries continued to visit the site comparatively late in the life of Buddhism in India. However, this seems to be the last written reference to the Amaravati Stupa, which subsequently fell into oblivion and disrepair.
The next reference, in 1796, describes only ancient mounds. A local landlord who had shifted his residence from Chintapalli to Amaravati laid the foundation of a modern township around the nearby Amareshvara temple, dedicated to Siva, which, dating back to the 10th century, had become an important Hindu place of worship. Many people settled in the area at his invitation and the building activity that ensued caused many of them to help themselves to the abundant supplies of bricks and limestone slabs yielded up by the various mounds that marked the stupa complex.
Some elaborate sculptures surfaced and came to the attention of Colonel Colin Mackenzie in 1797. Several European officials then took an interest in collecting sculptures from the site and some attempts were made to excavate the stupa in 1845. More excavations were carried out 1877, 1881 and 1908-09. As a result many of those carvings that had survived were removed and have been preserved in the local Archaeological Museum, the Government Museum in Madras and the British Museum in London, where there is special Amaravati Gallery.
Several scholars have identified Amaravati with Shri Dhanyakataka Pal-den Dre-pung in Tibetan, which Tantric scriptures describe as the place of origin of many of the Tantric teachings, in particular the Kalachakra. Several Tibetan pilgrims visited the area in times past, prominent among them Gendun Chophel, the renowned Tibetan scholar, who records that in the late 1930s was very little historical evidence remained."

The dome, now missing, seems to have been built solidly of large-sized bricks. The stupa may once have been the largest marble-surfaced dome in the world. The dome and the outer and inner sides of the railing were richly adorned with carvings, depicting events from the life of Buddha. Presently, only a large earthen mound survives, which has a height of about 1.5 m and a diameter of 49 m. Locally, the Mahastupa [great stupa] is known as 'Deepaladinne', or 'Mound of lamps' because on festive occasions the whole surface of the dome was littered over with lamps. Five relic caskets containing bones and gold flowers were discovered.


This temple apparently contains a 3D model of the life-size Kalachakra (Mind?) Mandala. If you have any information on this, please let us know!


One of the principal responsibilities of Namgyal Monastery is to provide ritual assistance to the His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Namgyal Monastery is one of the very few monasteries where the monks practice the Kalachakra rituals regularly. An annual group retreat is held early in the Tibetan year, which includes ritual dances, making a sand mandala and a fire puja to keep the practice alive.
As HH the Dalai Lama regularly gives the Kalachakra initiation, assisted by Namgyal monks, it was felt that the construction of a Kalachakra temple would be a great benefit to the public. In 1992 construction started and around 1996, the new temple with a complete mural depiction of the mandala of Kalachakra was completed.

The temple is open to the public as a site for pilgrimage and because of its architecture and mural it also serves as a representation of Tibet's rich spiritual and artistic traditions. It is also used for public teaching given by the Dalai Lama, and as a venue for religious activities, like construction of various sand mandalas and performance of rituals.

For marvellous images and explanation of the unique murals, see the book Kalachakra by Tibetdomani.

At the centre of the (main) Northern mural is a large paining of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni surrounded by all 722 deities of the Mandala.
On either side of this host of deities are the images of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and the lineage Gurus

At the centre of the Eastern wall is the depiction of the Mind Mandala of Kalachakra.
On the right of the mandala are all 32 deities of Guhyasamaja mandala and the lineage masters of this tradition. On the left are the hosts of the meditational deities of Chakrasamvara mandala, principal among all mother tantras. Above this are all the lineage master of this practice and below are the 16 consorts and also meditational deities of all four classes of tantra.

On the Western wall is an illustration of the complete mandala of the body, speech and mind of the Kalachakra deity. Above this are the images of the some great teachers of all the four main tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
On the right of the mandala are the 28 deities of the wrathful protector circle known as Trochu Trachang Phursung Damchen Wangchuk . On the left of the mandala are image of all the 13 deities of Yamantaka along with the lineage masters of the practice. At the bottom of the both eastern and western walls are painting of important protectors such as Palden Lhamo, the wrathful female protector of Tibet, and Gyalpo Kunga, who have special association with both the Tibetan government and Namgyal Monastery.


Kalachakra temple St. PetersburgAround 1909, Lama Agvan Dorjiev started the building of this temple commissioned by Tsar Nikolai Romanov, intended for the Buriat and Kalmyk minorities in the city. [Agvan Dorjiev (1854-1938) was a Buryat Mongol monk who studied in Lhasa and became the Master Debate Partner (Assistant Tutor) of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. According to Albert Grünwedel, the German explorer of Central Asia, in Der Weg nach Shambhala (The Way to Shambhala, 1915), Dorjiev spoke of the Romanov Dynasty as the descendants of the rulers of Shambhala.] It may have been the first Buddhist temple in Europe (if one does not count the Kalmyk region). The painter Nicholas Roerich, who later became a propagandist for Kalachakra doctrine, produced the designs for the stained-glass windows. The temple was opened in 1915, in the middle of the first world war.

"In the mean time, Tennissons was named by the 13th Dalai Lama as Buddhist ArchBishop of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia. He oversaw the construction of the temple and blessed - as he later wrote in his memoir - every stone and saw his work slowly grow. The dedication of the Petersburg Buddhist temple took place in 1915, in the middle of the First World War. The Petersburg Temple is the first Buddhist holy building that we are aware of on European soil. In 1917 the temple was plundered by Red Guards and closed. It was reopened a few years later, however as a laboratory rather than a religious building."
Translated from:www.payer.de/

Already in 1917, the temple was plundered and closed by the Red Guards. Several years later, it was opened again, but not as temple. After decades of closure under Communism, the was able to re-open its gates in 1990 under Gorbachev's Perestroika.

In 2003 and 2005, Ven Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche gave a Kalachakra initiation and teachings at the temple,

The Saint Petersburg Temple of Kalachakra
197183, St. Petersburg, Primorsky prospect, 91
See also this Russian website.


We currently know about several 3D mandalas of Kalachakra:

- The largest Kalachakra mandala in the world can be found in the Kalachakra temple at Khumbum Monastery in Tibet. Arija Rinpoche, who now lives in the USA, oversaw the construction of this life-size mandala.

- The same Arija Rinpoche constructed a scaled-down 3D mandala (see below), which now resides at Tibet House, New York.

£D Kalachakra mandala 3D Kalachakra Mandala Model
3D Kalachakra mandala made in the USA by Arjia Rinpoche
click on the right image to enlarge ( file 246kB).
A large, gilded 3D Body, Speech and Mind Mandala, apparently in a state of disrepair since the Chinese invasion of Tibet is found in the Potala palace. Originally it was made by the Jonangpas in Puntsogling monastery, and moved to the Potala in 1680.
A virtual 3D mandala was created by the organizers of the Kalachakra initiation by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Graz. For images and to order a CDRom or a video with animations of the mandala, visit their website.

Apparently there is a wooden Kalachakra mandala in Ganden Puntsogling monastery, but we only know this from Don Croner.

We recently heard about the construction of a (large?) 3D mandala at the White Horse Temple, San Xin, China (45 km from Chengdu, Sichuan), but have no information about it, also we are searching for more information on the mandala in Khumbum Monastery; any information, especially images of these mandalas would be more than welcome: please contact the webmaster!


Sometimes called the only Pure Land on earth; see the Shambala Page.

There is an unusual stupa-complex at Khamariin Khiid in Dornogov Aimag, Mongolia which is called Shambhala Land. From the weblog of Don Croner (with some good photos):

"Originally created by Danzan Rajvaa in the nineteenth century and then destroyed by the communists during the 1930s repressions, the complex, complete with 108 stupas, has now been rebuilt. Some monks maintain that the physical Shambhala in Dornogov serves as a portal to the multi-dimensional Shambhala, which intersects the mundane physical world here at Khamariin Khiid, Istanbul, and London, among other places."

Shambala Land, Mongolia - courtesy Don Croner
About half of the complex of Shambala Land,
Gobi desert, Mongolia

Two illustrated articles by ven. Konchog Norbu: Shambhala Rising and In the Heart of Shambhala about Shambhala land and the official inauguration.  There is also a nice video with Glenn Mullin on a pilgrimage to Shambhala Land.

Kalachakra Stupa on Hawai


In 1989 building began on a Kalachakra Stupa in Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is dedicated to the Very Venerable Kalu Rimpoche. The treasure vase was placed by H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rimpoche and built under the direction of H.E. Tai Situpa Rimpoche. Venerable Bokar Rimpoche dedicated and opened the Stupa in 1991. See www.paleaku.com.


Website Diamond Way Buddhism; includes details of the building and consecration.

Since the event in 1994 many people have come here to feel the energy around the site and to use their time for meditation and study. “The Wheel of Time”-Stupa will find its counterpart somewhere else in Europe soon.

Karma Guen, Spain, October 1994
©Gerhard Heidorn; A Signal to the World: The Wheel of Time

Kalachakra stupa in Austria


At the Kalapa center in Austria, a very special Kalachakra stupa was completed in 2003. It is one of the very rare stupas with the unique Kalachakra design. This specific design can be easily recognised by the round part, which is a globe rather than the more common dome.

Kalachakra stupa in Spiti, India


A large Kalachakra stupa, possibly the largest int he world was built in Tabor and consecrated in July 2009 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Kalachakra stupa at Kurukulla Center USA


A truely beautifully ornamented Kalachakra stupa completed in 2010.