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Namgyal Tsemo Gompa Phyang Gompa Basgo Monastery Chemrey Monastery Matho Monastery
Mulbekh Monastery Tak-Thok Gompa Mashro Gompa Rizong Monastery Bardan Monastery
Karsha Monastery Phuktal Monastery Rangdum Monastery Sani Monastery Tonde Monastery
Zangla Monastery    



Namgyal Tsemo Gompa

No longer inhabited, this gompa was built by King Tashi Namgyal. It forms a part of the Leh palace complex and is maintained by monks from the Sankar Gompa.

PHYANG GOMPA

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17 km from Leh on the Leh-Kargil road, it looks like a huge palace from afar, built by Tashi Namgyal in the later half of the 16th century AD, it belongs to the Red Cap sect of Buddhists. Hundreds of icons of Buddha and other gods are kept on wooden shelves

BASGO MONASTERY

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40 km downstream from Leh, it was the seat of power of a branch of the Namgyal family. It is here in 1680 A.D. that invading Mongol and Tibetian armies were held in check over a three year long seige. Original 16th century murals and other arts of Basgo are well worth a visit.

CHEMREY MONASTERY

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45 km from Leh, situated in a picturesque valley leading to Changia, this gompa was constructed as a funeral act of merit on Sengge Namgyal's death in 1645. A large collection of scriptures with title pages in sterling silver and the text in gold letters is kept here. Close by is a cave monastery reputed to have been the abode of Padma Sambhav during one of his periods of meditation

MATHO MONASTERY

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Situated on the opposite bank of the Indus across Thikse, Matho was established in the first half of the 16th century AD and has a valuable collection of very old and beautiful thankas, some in the form of 'mandalas'. Its annual festival of oracles in early March is an important event in the Ladakhi religious calendar. Young monks selected as oracles undergo long periods of meditation, fasting and ritual purification to gain spiritual strength. When possessed they perform astonishing feats with swords and knives, cavorting blindfolded along narrow parapets.

MULBEKH MONASTERY

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Precariously perched a top 200 metre high crag, it has an imposing rock carving of Chamba, the future Buddha. On the other end of the valley is a large vertical phallus shaped rock with a monastery at its base.
The village of Mulbekh, on the way to Namika-La, has a unique sight a huge image of the Buddha carved out of rock bang on the road. The monastery here is perched on a high rock over the village and the valley, and has some prized relics..

TAK-THOG GOMPA

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50 km. East of Leh, this is the only monastery belonging to the Nying-ma-pa order. Gum Rinpoche (Padma Sambhava) is said to have founded this monastery. The temple where he meditated is still to be seen at Tak Thog (rock-roofed) monastery. The monastery is tucked in the lap of a rock and owes its name to its roof which is a natural rock. Tu-Phuk houses the images of Guru-Tsan-gyet (eight forms of Padma Sambhava), Guru Takpo Tsahl and the 11-headed Avalokitesvara. There are seats for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Taklung Rinpoche; the latter is the incarnate Lama of the monastery. The monastery stages two festivals every year. Tak Thog Tse Chu is held from the ninth to the eleventh day of the sixth Tibetan month. Tak Thog Wangchogis held from the 26th to the 29th day of the ninth Tibetan lunar month.

MASHRO GOMPA

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Situated on the opposite bank of the Indus across Thikse, Mashro was established in the first half of the 16th century AD and has a valuable collection of very old and beautiful thankas, some in the form of 'mandalas'. Its annual festival of oracles in early March is an important event in the Ladakhi religious calendar. Young monks selected as oracles undergo long periods of meditation, fasting and ritual purification to gain spiritual strength. When possessed they perform astonishing feats with swords and knives, cavorting blindfolded along narrow parapets

RIZONG MONASTERY

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Rizong is also known as Yuma Changchubling about 73 Kms from Leh and around 6 Kms from main road, founded about 138 years ago by the great Lama Tsultim Nima. Gompa belong to Gelukpa order. Dress and food provisions are provided for all member of the community by the Governing body of the monastery. The monastery is sited in a most solitary positions and there is a place called chulichan down the monastery. The work of spinning wool, milking, extracting oil for the temple lamps has to be performed by all the nuns.

BARDAN MONASTERY

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The monastery of Bardan can be reached from Padum by trekking four hours down stream. Built on a rock, it towers high above the Tserap Lingti Chu. The monastery belongs to the Drukpa Kagyupa order, the abbot is Stakna Rinpoche. The monastery was founded in the 16th century. Its most important room is the Dukhang, which lies on the ground floor. The shrine on the first floor is dedicated to Maitreya, the Buddha of future ages.

KARSHA MONASTERY

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The monastery of Karsha lies to the left of the river Doda. From the Tungri bridge, it takes four hours of trekking and three hours by the raft on the doda, to reach it. The monks quarters and temples of this biggest monastery of Zanskar can be seen crawling picturesquely up on a steep mountain slope. The monastery of Karsha belongs to the Gelugpa order and is looked after by Likir. Like in Like, the abbot is a brother of the Dalai Lama. The Chamba Ling temple, which one encounters on the way to the monastery, dates back to the 11th century whereas, the monastery itself was built in the 15th century..

PHUKTAL MONASTERY

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Hiking from Padum via Bardan, Mune and Char through the right side valley of the Tserap Lingti Chu, one reaches, after about three days, the magnificently situated monastery of Phuktal, part of which is hidden in a cave. Phuktal founded in the middle of the 15th century belongs to the reformed Gelygpa and is, at present the home of about 60 Yellow Hat Monks. Below the large cave lies the monks, village with the Nyingpa Lakhang. The cave contains the chorten with the relics of Shesreb Zangpo which is covered by several layers of lime paint

RANGDUM MONASTERY

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Rangdum is the first Buddhist monastery one encounters on the way from Kargil to Panikar and Parkutse. From Kargil one can reach it in a seven to eight hours drive by Jeep. The monastery stands on a hill in a mountain valley, which in that area is rather wide. Rangdum was founded by the Gelugpa as in the early 16th century at present, over 40 monks live there under their abbot Ngari Rinpoche.

SINAI MONASTERY

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It takes one day drive from Kargi via Rangdum to reach the monastery and village of Sani, which lies about 10 Km before Padum. The Sani Monastery belongs to the southern branch of the Drukpa Kagyupa school. This sanctuary is, however for Buddhist of such high importance that even other sects worship it deeply. According to a legend, the chorten, standing in the oldest part of Sani monastery dates back to the 2nd century A.D. The Dukhang which forms the center of the later built monastery part, was erected in the early 17th century. A few meters to the north west of the monastery, outside the wall, lies one of the eight most important cremation grounds of Tibetan Buddhists

TONDE MONASTERY

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The village of Tonde can be reached from Padum in a four to five hours hiking tour through a bare, desert like plateau. The monastery Marpa Ling stands high above the village on the way to the Ronde Pass. The originally Red Hat Monastery was reformed in time and belongs now to the Gelugpa school. Over 50 monks of this sect are working in Tonde.

ZANGLA MONASTERY

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After a five hours walk from Tonde, along the right bank of the river Zanskar one arrives at Zangla the main village of the small principality bearing the same name. The castle of Zangla towering on a mountain ridge above the village is almost entirely destroyed. The Raja of Zangla lives, nowadays in the village amongst the common people.