History of Stakna Monastery
The Stakna Monastery is the earliest of the Drugpa foundations in Ladakh. It was established before the arrival of the great lama Stag Tsang Raspa, the founder of Hanle and Hemis, and later of Chemrey under the patronage of Sengge Namgyal. The name of Nawang Namgyal is associated with the gompa's early history, one of Sengge's half-brothers. They were the sons of Jamyang Namgyal's first marriage, who gave holy orders in 1630. He is said to have restored the building, perhaps replacing an originally more modest structure with the present impressive pile. It was later endowed by Delegs Namgyal. However in the 18th century, they seem to have lost ground to Hemis in the matter of royal patronage and political importance.
Architecture of Stakna Monastery
The Stakna Monastery stands at an elevation of 60 m on an isolated rock. The gompa buildings, crowning their rock, are not extensive but are beautifully maintained. A small courtyard has steps leading up to the dukhang, whose principal feature is a silver chorten of about 7 feet. The chorten is an exemplary example of the exquisite craftsmanship and is studded with great flawless turquoises. There are murals built fairly recently and have a familiar style to them. There is a small chapel behind the chorten and its attendant images have paintings which probably date from the gompa's foundation. There is an assembly hall inside the gompa whose walls are adorned with the paintings of Sakyamuni, Tsephakmad and Amchi. The paintings of Bodhisattva, Padma Sambhava and Tshong-san-Gompa arrayed parallel to the hall give a mesmerizing charm to the monastery. The paintings that are exhibited are of exceedingly high quality and are the instances of brilliant artistry. The style and creativity used to build the gompa are much more liberated and alive, and have a certain individualistic touch to it.
There is a large figure of Dorje Phakma on the room just behind the Dukhang in a wooden cupboard. Also there are 8 positions of Buddha and a small statue of Avalokitesvara. One of the essential parts of the Stakna Gompa is that the room of head lama, which lies just above the Dukhang and it, has been recently inflated in Tibetan style. The library of Stakna monastery is near another room which has colourful paintings and gilded statue of the previous Rimpoche of Stakna.
Visiting Information on Stakna Monastery
The Panchrukhi Railway station in Himachal Pradesh is the closest at a distance of 649 km from the Stakna Monastery. The nearest airport to the gompa is the Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport at a mere distance of about 27 km.