(Last Updated on : 06/12/2014)
In the beautiful Spiti Valley
of Himachal Pradesh
is located the Dhankar Monastery. Dhankar Monastery is one of the world's ancient Buddhism
monasteries present today. It is also known as the Dhankar Gompa. The monastery exhibits an image of 'Vairocana' or Dhayan Buddha consisting of four complete figures seated back to back. It also houses a collection of various crumbling thankas. The lower monastery building has a silver statue of Vajradhara (the Diamond Being), and there's a second prayer hall on the hilltop, with exquisite medieval murals of Sakyamuni, Tsongkhapa and Lama Chodrag. It also has Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti language
and relics in the shape of paintings
as its belongings. Other than these, there are two Gompas housed in the monastery. Those are Lha Opa Gompa and Lkhang Gompa. The Lha Opa Gompa is supposed to date back to 12th century. The second Gompa represent the life of Buddha in its splendid murals. It is a fascinating land for Buddhist art and culture.
A small village named Shichilling which is situated around 1km away Dhankar Monastery, is the new Dhankar Monastery. The new monastery belongs to the Gelugkpa School of Order and serves as the residence of approximately 150 monks. To the south of the gompa is a national park of snow leopard
Dhankar Monastery, also referred to as Dhankar Gompa, is a Buddhist temple situated in the district of Spiti & Lahaul
in Himalayan region
of Northern India. It is situated in Himachal Pradesh state. The Monastery is located at a height of almost 3894 m from sea level in the Spiti Valley and is surrounded by town Tabo
and Kaza. The Monastery is placed at a height of 1000 ft above the confluence of Pin River & Spiti River
In the local language Dhan means cliff and Kar means fort, hence the name Dhankar meaning 'Fort on a Cliff'. The Monastery had been declared as one of the '100 Most Endangered Sites in the World' by World Monument Fund in the year 2006 and a team of non-profit groups are working to organize its preservation. This is one of the most famous Fort Monasteries that has been built in accordance with Central Tibetan Pattern. Total of 150 Lamas reside in this Monastery.
There are many festivals that are celebrated in the Dhankar Monastery which includes all of the major festivals of Buddhism religion and some from local areas. All the festivals are celebrated under supervision of monks and everyone is allowed to take part in the celebration.
The airports at Kullu
are the nearest one to reach the Spiti valley. The closest railway Station from Spiti lies at Shimla and Pathankot
. Kaza can be reached from both Manali
and Shimla by road. From both destinations, buses and taxis are available. To reach the Dhankar Monastery personal vehicle arrangements are done from Kaza because it does not fall on bus route.
Nearby places to visit
Apart from the Dhankar Monastery, there are few more nearby monasteries in the Sipti valley. The Tabo Monastery
, the Kye Monastery
and the Thang Yug Monastery
are the places to visit and explore the Buddhist philosophy and traditions. The 1200-year-old Dhankar Gompa is wedged between rocky spurs at the top of the Dhankar village, with views that inspire euphoria.