Montana has more in common with the Himalayans than you might think. The soaring mountains are the obvious point of comparison; less so are the Nepali and Tibetan communities that have found refuge in Big Sky Country. The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee is nestled in the picturesque Jocko Valley, 20 miles north of Missoula. In 2001, Tibetan-born lama Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche converted a 60-acre sheep ranch into a Buddhist studies center, complete with sacred festivals, empowerment ceremonies, and meditation retreats. In 2006, volunteers started hand-casting the statues that would eventually give the handsomely landscaped grounds its name. Today, a statue of Yum Chenmo, or the Great Mother, stands at the center of 1,000 Buddha statues. They, in turn, are circled by 1,000 stupas, each enshrining an image of the lady deity Tara. The garden is open year round from dawn till dusk. Guided tours are offered every Saturday at 1 p.m. from May to October, or by appointment the rest of the year.
34574 White Coyote Rd., Arlee, MT; 406-726-0555.