"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 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
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
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
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
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
KALACHAKRA TEMPLE AT KHUMBUM
This temple apparently contains a 3D model of the life-size Kalachakra
(Mind?) Mandala. If you have any information on this, please let us
KALACHAKRA TEMPLE AT
NAMGYAL MONASTERY, DHARAMSALA, INDIA
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
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
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
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
KALACHAKRA TEMPLE AT
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
"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
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.
3D KALACHAKRA MANDALAS
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.