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Zongkhul Monastery Ladakh

Zongkhul Monastery

Situated in the Zanskar valley, 20 kms south of Rangdum, this is an exceptional cave monastery. It is spectacularly nestled on a rock-face overlooking the Zongkhul falls. The Indian yogi Naropa, is said to have used the caves of this monastery for meditation, and his footprints are said to be embedded in a rock. It is believed that Naropa has meditated for two years. He was also associated with Nalanda and Vikramsila Universities.

Since then, this monastery has been a sacred place for meditation, with plenty of enlightened ones like Dubchen Kunga Gyatso, Dubchen Nawang Tsering, Dzadpa Dorje and Kunga Choslag having taken meditative solace here.

It appears like a swallow’s nest on the rock face of Ating from a distance. The monastery is associated with the Drugpa order of Tibetan Buddhism. The only way to reach the monastery is trekking as it lies on the Padum-Kishtwar trek route.

Frescos and murals in the monastery cast a high level of artistic impact of old age.

The murals in the cave walls of the monastery are of wonderful artistic skill. Collections of valuable artifacts like ivory image of Samvara, a crystal stupa and text having the spiritual songs and thangkas can also be seen. Dating back to 300 years, the murals of Zhadpa Dorje is very impressive. The monastery has 15 monks and 23 novitiates.

The monastery enthralls locals as well as tourists for its festival called Zongkhul Huchot. Tourists embarking on their trekking tour to Padum-Kishtwar can find the two cave Zongkhul Monastery, which lies on the rock face of the Ating George.

The Zongkhul Huchot festival is the highlight of the Zongkhul monastery. Celebrated with great pomp and show, it falls on the 16th and 17th days of the fourth month of Tibetan calendar. There are no mask dances in the festival unlike other monasteries.

Zongkhul Monastery provides tourists the opportunity to have the glimpses of the significance of Buddhism in Ladakh.

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