Zongkhul Monastery

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India >> Jammu & Kashmir >> Zanskar >> Attractions >> Zongkhul Monastery

Zongkhul Monastery

History

The Zongkhul Monastery also known as the Zongkhul Gompa and Dzongkhul Monastery is located in the Stod Valley in Zanskar. It lies at a distance of 190 kms from the capital city of Srinagar. The Zongkhul Monastery is an important shrine for Buddhists and is nestled like a nest on the rock facing the Ating Gorge.

The monastery is directly built on a rock wall with two caves behind it and according to legend is associated with the famous Indian Yogi, "Naropa'', who lectured in the Nalanda and Vikramsila Universities and used it for solitary meditation. The site also contains some majestically built temples and shrines of many Buddhist monks.

The main attraction of Zongkhul Monastery is the presence of the beautiful frescoes on the cave walls. These are said to be the original murals painted by Zhadpa Dorje, the famous scholar-painter of Zanskar who visited the monastery some 300 years ago. Another attraction is the presence of a footprint near the ingress of the stone cave believed to be of the Yogi Naropa himself.

Zongkhul Monastery also boasts of wonderful collection of precious artifacts from ancient times and it contains invaluable images of Samvara a fierce protective Buddhist deity, Buddhist texts consisting of spiritual songs and biographies composed by great Mahasiddha.

Best time to visit

Zanskar has a surprisingly pleasant, warm and dry climate in the summers. Winter months extend from September to February and are very harsh with heavy snowfalls and therefore should be avoided as snowfall can cause a delay of up to many days. The best time to visit Zanskar is during the months from July to early November.

Trivia

The Zanskar (Karsha Gustor) Festival, a popular Buddhist festival is held during January and has a special dance known as Black Hat Dance is performed.

Timing

The monastery is open on all days.


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