The Nyerma Nunnery below Thiksey Monastery and the Chulichan Nunnery below Rizong Monastery are located in Ladakh, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, in the northernmost tip of India. Each nunnery faces its own unique challenges. Nyerma is home to about 15 older nuns, and even after the extraordinary effort required to build their nunnery, they still do not have a teacher or steady community support. These older nuns feel that only a teacher can attract the younger nuns necessary for their nunnery’s survival. Chulichan seems almost the opposite–a nunnery with a teacher and comprised almost solely of younger nuns. However, this success comes with its own challenge every winter: to heat, house and feed the young nuns.
Both nunneries are featured in the film, In the Shadow of Buddha by Heather Kessinger; watch the movie trailer, which features an interview clip with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo on the status of nuns. The film reveals the beauty, poverty, hope, and faith of these nuns, old women and young girls and the worlds they share.