The Sani monastery is a significant place of pilgrimage of the Drukpa Kagyupa School of Tibetan Buddhism and belongs to its southern branch. One of the unique things about this monastery is that it has been constructed in different parts over a course of several centuries.
History of the Sani Monastery
The stupa dated back to the 2nd century. There is a huge central prayer hall that houses an assortment of statues of Buddhist saints. A chapel is also attached, where a fascinating collection of frescoes and stucco murals can be seen. Another highlight is an erstwhile cemetery, an excellent example of ancient rock carvings. Sani Monastery relates to a saint named Naropa, who is believed to have mediated here for sometime under the Kanika Stupa.
Architecture of the Sani Monastery
The Monastery resembles a huge castle. The architecture of the Sani Gompa has a prayer hall and 2nd century Kanika Stupa within its building. Statues of Buddhist deities and revered Lamas adorn the central hall with the elaborate wall painting designs and thangkas on its walls. Behind this monastery, there is a small chapel that has murals related to the life of Guru Padmasambhava and a holy cremation ground, enveloped with complicated rock carvings, is situated right outside the monastery complex.
The Sani Monastery is decorated with a lively collection of statues of Buddhist deities and Kargud-pa’s Lamas. There is a crematorium exterior side of the monastery complex which is considered to be one of the eight most important cremation grounds for Tibetan Buddhists. The crematorium has a ring of ancient rock paintings on its perimeter which has a touch of Indian art as well to it.
Attractions of the Sani Monastery
The main building consisting of a large multi-columned central prayer hall is also an attraction of Sani Monastery apart from the Kanika Stupa and the prayer hall which displays a number of different types of statues of popular Buddhists divinities and 'Drugpa' saints along with the walls of the hall, constructed in the 17th century are adorned with frescoes and thankas attracting a number of tourists.
Connectivity of the Sani Monastery
Visitors can reach the Sani Monastery by air from the Srinagar and Leh airports. The Sani Monastery lies on the Kargil-Padum road which is around 6 km before Padum. B-class bus service run by the J&K SRTC is available thrice a week but the tourists in group can even go for A-Class or even Super-Deluxe buses, jeeps and gypsy taxis to reach the Sani Monastery.