Location of Zongkhul Monastery
It is located in Zanskar Valley in Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir. Zanskar is approximately 20km south of Rangdum. It is situated in Stod Valley and lies on the Padum-Kishtwar trekking route. It is positioned at a distance of 190 kms from the capital city of Srinagar.
History of Zongkhul Monastery
The monastery is related to Naropa, an eminent Buddhist yogi and lecturer of Nalanda and Vikramshila University in Bihar. It is believed that this gompa was founded by him a millennium ago. It is also conceived that the two caves around the monastery were used by Naropa for recluse meditation. One of the stones near the entrance of the cave has a footprint, thought to be of the Yogi's.
Attractions of Zongkhul Monastery
Zongkhul monastery is home to ancient murals and frescos that reflect a high degree of creative triumph of ancient age. The murals adorn the walls of the cave. Zhadpa Dorje, a celebrated scholar-painter of the same monastery who was active about 300 years ago, is supposed to have painted the cave walls.
It has an impressive collection of precious artefacts like ivory image of Samvara, a crystal stupa, texts containing the spiritual songs and thangkas. The images of Buddha, Padmasmbhava, Mitukpa and Mahakala housed inside the cave, also escalate the importance of this ancient monastery. Another attraction is the Zongkhul Huchot festival which attracts locals and tourists in a large number.
Connectivity of Zongkhul Monastery
It has no road access. Trekking is the only way to reach the monastery. It can be easily reached from Stongdey (20km) and Burdan (10km). Also, there are no hotel facilities to stay near the monastery however, sometimes the monastery offers accommodation. July to early November is the ideal time to visit Zongkhul monastery as rest of the year, the region remains enveloped by snow.