The first Buddhist monastery ever founded in Tibet, Samye occupies a suitably epic spot on the north side of the Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) Valley. Tapering golden finials crown the top of the complex, whose walls are painted a deep russet colour with bands of black and white limewash. The finest view of the monastery is to be had from the summit of nearby Hepo Ri, a hillock that features on a ritual circuit (‘Kora’) following the ridges and cliffs behind Samye, which you can follow with your guide.

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