Ladakh Place of Interest
Spituk is the first that is the oldest Gelukpa monastery to be established in Ladakh during 15th century. It was the prediction of Rinchen Zangpo; that this gompa would set an example to the other monasteries in the land. As it's situated on the small hill there are good views over the Indus valley. It is interesting to note that the Delgupta monks created the precedent of building monasteries on hilltops, rather than on valley floors. This follows the Tibetian notion that the higher the monastery sites, the closer it is to the Gods.
The Spituk festival is held every year from the 17th to the 19th day of the 11th month. Sacred dances associated with the festivals of Gustor are held. The Monastery houses a collection of ancient masks, antique arms, icons and numerous thankas. Higher up the hill is the Mahakal Temple, containing the shrine of Vajrabhairava. This terrifying face is unveiled only at the annual festival in January.
King Tashi Namgyal founded Phyang in 16th century. The king had invited the Digungpa order (branch of the Kagyupa order) to establish for a Lama. A prayer pole marks the place from which one can see the monastery and signifies that, from this point on, criminals escape punishment.
It is also known as the baby trek, which is carried out all around the year. It is convenient for easy hikers as well as for sight seeing group.
The Choskor or the religious enclave is one of the most important cultural sites in Ladakh. A large temple complex built in 11th century is regarded as the most important Buddhists center and the jewel of monastic skill lies at Alchi. There are five shrines in the Choskor complex which has some splendid wall painted wooden flags, a reminder perhaps of the presence in ancient times of lakes in the desert. Also unlike other gompas, it is hidden down by the river rather than in the more usual elevated position.
This impressive monastery dates back to the 12th century but the original structure was destroyed by the fire so the buildings you see today are about 200 years old. This is the monastery, which has clay Budhha statues. During the reign of Lachen Gyalpo this monastery was built, he installed 600 monks here, headed by Lhawang Chosie(C 1088). The Gompa was invested with a collection of fine images, thankas and murals to vie with those at Alchi.
Kargil is one of the ideal base stations for trekking, mountaineering, camping, river rafting, and the shorter excursions to Mulbet whose attraction is a 9m high rock sculpture of future Budhha. Famous for its bazaar, views of mountain range, and the town.
Lamayuru is the oldest monastery and was founded in the 11th century and belongs to the Tibetian Kagyupa sect. The monastery is perched on a crag overlooking the Indus. The present monastery dating from the 16th century was partly destroyed in 19th century. Some murals, which mix Indian and Tibetian styles, the 11 headed and 1000 armed Avalokiteswara image along with recently redecorated dukhang can be seen. It is established to preserve snow leopard. It enters beautiful valley of Markha, which is overshadowed by many peaks.
Shey Palace was the old capital and home of the kings of Ladakh before the new capital became establishment in Leh. This oldest palace of Ladakh sits in a strategic position on the spur jutting out into the Indus valley, which was built by the first king of Ladakh in 9th century, now days it is in a ruined condition. The main temple contains a large Buddha statue sculptured by Nepalese craftsmen. In the courtyard there's an impressive and unique Buddha with copper and gold gilded topped stupa best viewed from above. The son of king Singey Namgyal builds this temple 16th century for the funeral memory of his father.
Thiksey Monastery is an impressive sight situated on the top of a craggy hill while the rest of the complex sprawls down beneath it. This is the oldest monastery of Gelukpa school in Ladakh which is build by the great Lama Paldan Shesrap in 14th century now in these days 80 monks are residing HH Khanpo Ringpoche incumbents this monastery.
The great mahasiddha Sthaksang Raspa along with great ancestor Singey Namgyal built this monastery in 16th century. This monastery is the biggest and richest monastery of Ladakh. Presently 200 monks are residing this monastery and they practice in Drukpa School.
The king of Ladakh built the Stock palace in 1835 by the king of Ladakh, where we could see a great collection of ancient royal ornaments,thankas and old statues. The monatery is situated at the foot of the stok mountains midway between Hemis and the Stok.
Lama Tumgpa Dorje built this monastery in 13th century. This is the only monastery of Saskyapa School in Ladakh. The monks are practising Saskyapa order. The Matho represent the smaller but much older Saskya pa monastic sects.Matho gompa is famous for its festival of the oracles, which is held early in the year, usually in the first half of March. The founder of this monastery invited the famous two oracles from Tibet.
Sankar monastery was built in 1845. The monastery is surrounded by the typical houses of Ladakh and barley fields. It is the branch of monastery of Spituk. The H.H Bakula Rinpoche incumbents this monastery. Approximately 40 monks reside in this monastery.
Tak tok means "rock roof" and this interesting little monastery is built around a cave where it is believed Padmasambhava lived and meditated for a while on his journey to Tibet. The cave is now a cool dark temple. This monastery represent smaller but much older nying ma pa monastic sects.Tak-thok, situated at the foot of the Chang-la pass, incorporates one of the many caves in the Himalayas.
Shyok valley is the place of Shyok river known as the river of death. This river receives water from Nubra and Chanchenmo rivers. During winter the river has to be crossed by raft of inflatted skin.
Tsomoriri Lake is situated at the altitude of 4555m.This high altitude lake is situated in the Rupshu region of eastern Ladakh. Tsomoriri lake is surrounded by mountains and is formed by a tributary of the Spiti river. It is the starting point for trekking for Spiti through its traditional route through Parang la (5580m). Around 240kms journey to Tsomoriri Lake passes through Shey, Thiksey, Upshi and many small villages along the Indus river. The hot spring at Chumathang (3965 m) comes after driving for around 100 kms with a hot spring Resort where you can bath in hot spring water, which Ladakhis uses for healing. The "Changpas" nomadic people, has trade relation with Spiti. The area is rich in wildlife including the Kyang (wild ass), red fox, and the rare highly endangered snow leopard. Black necked cranes and geese flock to the lakeside for breeding during the summer months. There are options to drive to Manali via Tsokar and Serchu. Full day walking tour of Tsomoriri Lake includes a visit to Karzok monastery and Nomad Camp above the village. After hours drive you will cross Maya bridge and drive upto Tsomoriri through Puga village through a bumpy road. Puga is known for its sulphur and borax deposits.
Zanskar is land of peace, virtually untouched by the modern world; it has been isolated for centuries by a ring of high peaks. The lowest pass is the Pensi La (4418m). Although immobilized in the winter, except for a short period see The Chadar trek (link to the Winter trek). It is another charm of Ladakh, which offers stunning treks, rafting, jeep or motorbike tour and mountain climbing during summer. Glaciers of Nun Kun, the famous peak of 7142m are another attraction of Zangksar. Padum, the region's "capital" has a few facilities; accommodations are in comfortable. Visiting different villages being with them in their locally run guesthouses could experience their culture. The Zangskari people are independent and proud and by their geographical situation quite separate from the rest of Ladakh, with their own royal family the local king of padum and zangla.
The Nubra valley means Ldumra (the valley of flowers), situated in the north of Leh. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000ft. above the sea level. The world's highest motor able road of 5606m and Bactarian Camels (shaggy double hump Camel), camel safari are the attraction of the Nubra valley. This Tour can be organized for 3 days 2 nights. Accommodation can be camp or family guesthouses. The region of Nubra is acessible all year round with the road over Khardong La of 5610mts open even in winter. The specticular view of Karakuram range & famous highest peak Saser kagri 7678mts and the Siachen glacier 70km long. Surprisingly Nubra valley lower altitude creates fertile villages with an impressive abundance of crops & fruits. The friendly monk live in beautiful Gompas perched in rocky mountainsides help makes this a timeless place.