Extraordinary Stays Book A Room With A View In A Monastery

These monasteries in Ladakh offer stunning views, quiet contemplation, and accommodation full of atmosphere
Extraordinary Stays Book A Room With A View In A Monastery
Extraordinary Stays Book A Room With A View In A Monastery

Nestled in the folds of mountains, Ladakh&rsquos gompas (or Buddhist monasteries) are an intrinsic part of the stark surroundings, their built heritage is inextricably linked to its surroundings - the dramatic craggy hilltops. Some of them also provide lodging options for visitors. If you are looking for isolation and a dose of peace and quiet, a monastery stay is a great option. A monastery stay will let you soak in Ladakh&rsquos undoubtedly unique charms. You can explore the dark prayer halls with centuries-old frescoes, often lit by a single lovely shaft of sunshine from a skylight. And spend time with the helpful resident lamas who will answer your questions and give richer histories of their monasteries and region. These monasteries sometimes offer affordable lodging and food to travellers. You can land up there and ask for a room, visit their website and call or e-mail.

Here are some monasteries where you can book a stay in the mountains of Ladakh.


One of Ladakh's largest, and possibly wealthiest, gompas was founded in the 1630s. Its du khang, shrines, labyrinthine stairs and courtyards, and rooftop are all worth seeing. The monastery has become particularly well-known as a result of the annual Hemis Festival, which takes place in June or July. Every 12 years, Hemis' great treasure, a massive embroidered thangka of Padmasambhava adorned with pearls, is ceremoniously unrolled in front of a reverent audience. There is a cafeteria and a stream in the monastery complex.


Ladakh's oldest surviving monastery is located on a rocky promontory high above the village. Although the interior of the Lamayuru duk-hang is not as dramatic as that of many other monasteries, one feature makes the visit worthwhile. Request that a monk show you Naropa's cave. The cave's mouth is behind a glass wall, but it's still exciting to shine a torchlight inside and see where the great adept meditated. The complex's oldest section is located beneath the du-khang and is in disrepair. Ask someone for directions if you get lost in the narrow, dark alleys.&nbspThere are carved doorways as well as murals of mandalas and tantric deities that have weathered through time. 


Around 2,500 years ago, Phugtal (also written as Phuktal Monastery) was just a cave in the mountains. Monks, scholars and anyone seeking enlightenment lived and meditated in this cave in complete isolation, for years at a stretch. That&rsquos how Phugtal Gompa (monastery), built around the cave, got its name Phug = cave, tal = liberation. One of the world&rsquos oldest and most remote monasteries, it is situated in the rugged Zanskar Valley of Ladakh.


The huge mid-15th century Thiksey Monastery, covering a whole hillside, is built like the Potala Palace in Tibet.&nbspIt is renowned for its magnificence in architecture, religious importance, and spectacular views. The gold painted statue, though relatively new, diffuses an aura of serenity and beauty. There are wooden book-racks with ancient manuscripts and a rooftop that offers a stunning panoramic view of the fertile Indus Valley, guarded by mountains and the snowy Stok Range beyond. 

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