Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Family Vacations in Colorado


Family Vacations in Colorado: Great Stupa of Dharmakaya Shambhala Mountain
© Shambhala Mountain Center.

Cradled in the pine-clad mountains near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya is the largest stupa (monument to a great Buddhist teacher) in the western hemisphere. It is also the largest and most elaborate example of Buddhist sacred architecture in North America.

The monument was built in honor of the great Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987), the founder of the Shambhala movement and one of the key figures who helped introduce Tibetan Buddhism to the United States. He established more than 100 meditation centers across the United States and founded the first Buddhist-inspired university in the country, Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. His skull is encased in the large statue of Buddha in the chamber at the stupa's base, called the heart center.

Construction on the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya began in 1988, and the monument was consecrated in 2001. The 108-foot masterpiece is a mesmerizing work of ornate art, laden with meaningful symbolism and built to last a millennium. (The engineers behind it used reinforced concrete to maximize the stupa's durability.) Stupas in the West have come to represent the contrast between modern and ancient world views. The interior of the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya is spacious. Its design and artwork reflect a connection of Japanese aesthetics and Shambhala teachings.

Great Stupa of Dharmakaya Shambhala Mountain Center Information

Address: 4921 County Rd 68C

Red Feather Lakes, CO

Telephone: 970/881-2184

Hours of Operation: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., daily

Admission: Free

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Colorado State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Colorado, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

More to Explore