The powerful mythology has grown up around the monastery at Tengboche as result of the writings of explores & mountaineers, but the Gompa is not as ancient as you might expect. The first Gompa at Tengboche was constructed in 1916 by Lama Gulu, a monk from Khumjung, but the building was destroyed in the earthquake of 1934, which also killed its founder.A second gompa on the site lasted until 1989, when an electrical fire burned the stone and timber structure to the ground. Tengboche was painstakingly reconstructed, opening its doors in 1993. Inside is a 4m high statue of Sakyamuni, backed by an ornate wooden freeze of mythical beasts that was rescued from the fire. In the doorway to the monastery, note the stone with a foot-shaped imprint, allegedly left by Lama Sange Dorje as he flew around the Himalaya in the 17th century.
The monastery is the setting for the famous Mani Rimdu festival in the ninth Tibetan month with whirling masked chaam dances & plenty of eating, drinking & making merry. Visitors are welcome to attend the daily prayer ceremonies at 6am & 3pm, but sit to the right so as not to interrupt the monks as they chant the scriptures. Wearing shoes or shorts, smoking & taking photo are all prohibited inside the monastery.