Phuktal monastery is one of the most popular and serenely located monastic establishment in whole of Ladakh and Zanskar Valley. It is housed in remotest corner of Lungnak Valley in south-eastern region Zanskar, Ladakh. Phugtal is one of the most enchanting sites up there in the entire region. The fact of it being built into or around a natural cave in the cliffside, like a honeycomb, adds all the more fascination to the trek of Phugtal Monastery. Hence, it is also widely popular by the name of “cave monastery”.
Zongkhul monastery lies about 37 KMs from Padum in Stod valley. It is build in a spectacular cave on a rock wall and belongs to the Drukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. It is also known as Dzongkhul Monastery and lies on the Padum – Kishtwar route just before the ascent to Omasila Pass begins. The roads to Zongkhul monastery are not so good and hence, it takes about 2-3 Hrs to drive this 37 odd KMs. While driving from Padum towards Kargil, you will reach at Tungri village bridge. You have to leave and pass it to continue straight and reach a point where two roads fork out. You have to take the left desolated road in order to reach Zongkhul.
Zongkhul monastery is associated with Naropa, a popular Indian Buddhist yogi, who is said to have meditated in one of the two caves and the monastery is dedicated to him. You can see his footprints in the rock near the entrance to the lower cave. The terrace of the monastery offers some beautiful views as well.
Sani Monastery & Sani Lake
Sani monastery and Sani lake lies on the way to Zongkhul from Padum and is considered as a holy site. It is one of the 8 holiest Buddhist sites in the world. It is just 6 KMs from Padum and much like Zongkhul, Sani monastery also belongs to the Drukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. The Sani lake offers very serene surroundings to spend any sunny afternoon around it
Karsha is the largest & richest monastery in Zanskar region. It is the house of about 150 residential monks. Karsha is about 14 KMs from Padum village and offers extremely picturesque panoramic views of whole valley from its vantage points. The monastery complex is so large that it can be easily seen from the grounds of Padum village located on the hills. Khurshan village is the base of the monastery and also offers facilities for rafting in Zanskar river to the tourists. You must visit Karsha village for beautiful views in the evening.
Stongdey monastery is located at a hilltop, about 21 KMs from Padum village. Many people doing the Darcha – Padum trek also visits this monastery. It is the second largest monastic institution in Zanskar Valley.
About 35 KMs from Padum village, houses a palace and used to be the second capital of kingdom of Zanskar in ancient times. There is no monastery in Zangla but a nunnery. However, Zangla is the last point where in general tourists visits as a day long road trip. The road to Zangla offers some beautiful vistas and popular point where the Zanskar rivers bends a u-turn along with soil eroded rock formations around it.
Bardan monastery or Bardan Gompa is about 12 KMs south of Padum and fall on the opposite side of Padum – Stongdey – Zangla – Karsha – Padum circuit.
You can visit 17th century Buddhist monastery which belongs to the Dugpa-Kargyud monastic order.
Join us for Cultural and Spritual Tours to Zanskar Valley.