Chim-puk Hermitage (青朴寺) is a warren of caves northeast of Samye that was once a meditation retreat for Guru Rinpoche. It is a popular day hike for travellers spending a few days at Samye. The walk takes around 5hrs up and 3hrs down (roughly 7km each way).
There is a small monastery built around Guru Rinpoche’s original medication cave halfway up the hill. Follow the pilgrims around the various other shrines.
Chim-puk Hermitage is Embraced by lush hills on 3 sides and facing the broad Yarlung Tsangbo Valley, the Chim-puk Hermitage is renowned not only for being the most famous meditation place of Tibetan Buddhism, but also for its unique humane climate and beautiful scenery presented at an altitude of 4,300m.
Numerous small retreat caves and hermitages are located on the hills, among which those once inhabited by Padmasambhava (known as Gulug Rinpoche to Tibetans), Yeshe Tsogyal (student of Padmasambhava) and Trisong Detsen (742-798, the 5th Tibetan king) are the most prestigious. Handprints and footprints impressed on rocks can be found everywhere, and the enormous footprint on the Guruta Rock is said to have been left by Padmasambhava.
Currently, the caves are inhabited by over 200 Buddhists, 70% of whom are nuns. Leading a simple life which might be unbearable for the commoners, these dedicated Buddhists believe that the Chim-puk Hermitage-- the place in which Padmasambhava meditated and taught Dharma to his disciples-- will bring them more spiritual achievements in meditation.
If you are feeling fit and acclimatized, it is possible to climb to the top of the peak above Chim-puk. You’ll probably only have enough time to do this if you were driven to Chim-puk or stay the night there. to make this climb from the Guru Rinpoche cave follow the left-hand valley behind the caves and slog it uphill for 1.5hrs to the top of the ridge, where there are several clumps of prayer flags. From here you can drag yourself up along a path for another 1.5hrs to the top of the conical peak, where there are a couple of medication retreats and fine views of the Yarlung Tsangpo Valley. On clear days you can see several massive Himalayan peaks to the southeast.
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