Sani Gompa, Monastery , Zanskar,Ladakh

Sani Gompa Monastery of Ladakh also known as Turtot Gyat situated on the road to Kargil, at a distance of approximately 6 km to the west of Padum. belongs to the Drukpa Kagyupa School,  it is believed that the monastery was associated with Kanishka, Kushan ruler of 2nd century AD because of  the Kanika Stupa in the back yard and construction like a fort,  the gompa is not built on a hill or mountain but on flat land. It is in the form of a castle and the Kanishka chorten is in the backyard of the enclosing stone walls with chortens mounted at intervals. Next to the Kanishka chorten are ten standing stones with engravings of deities in a pre-Tibetan style.  The entire Sani Monastery of Ladakh has been constructed in parts, each dating back to a different century. The chorten inside the oldest part of Sani Monastery is believed to be erected in the 2nd century AD. On the other hand, the Dukhang (assembly hall) of the monastery is said to be constructed in the early 17th century.

Sani Gompa , Monastery

the famous Indian Yogi Naropa. It is believed that the Yogi meditated under the Kanishka Stupa, situated in the backyard of the monastery. The same spot, where the Yogi sat in meditation, now houses a small room with a veiled bronze statue of the Yogi. It is on displayed on the eve of the Naro-Nasjal Festival every year in late July  or  in the first week of August, between the 15th and the 20th of the sixth Tibetan month. It takes place during the blooming of the  Guru Neropa Flower, the Lamas from Bardan Monastery perform masked dances as ritual offering. a magnificent plantation of huge old poplars adjoining the gompa is unusual as this region is mostly treeless

Stupa at Sani Gompa back yard

The Dukhang (assembly hall) of the monastery is said to be constructed in the early 17th century. The central praying hall is situated in the main building of the monastery and stands ornamented with a rich collection of the statues of popular Buddhist divinities and Kargud-pa high lamas ,the walls of the praying hall are decorated with frescoes and Thangkas. The Assembly Hall or Dukhang has 16 columns and houses images of Chamba, Chenren and Padmasambhava as well as others. Behind the altar is the Gongkhang, a small room containing an ancient figure of Cho Rinpoche

This place is also among the  eight most important cremation grounds of Tibetan Buddhists is outside the monastery complex and the cemetery is ringed with ancient rock-carvings which show Indian influences there is also a  two metre high boulder with a painting of Maitrya on it  the pilgrims pour the sacrificial oil over it .

Drukpa  Kargyu school  is the only one of this order in Zanskar which has nuns, A group of Kargyu nuns established a small retreat centre at Starkhugnza in the 1990s ,  It is a site above Sani which was founded by Ngawang Tsering (1657-1732), a famous Zanskar meditator.

One can see the white opening to a cave in a cliff across the river from the monastery where Padmasambhava is also said to have meditated for several years and it is still used as a meditation cell

Every year in the winters a Great Prayer Festival is held in which the  firewood provided by villagers of the surrounding villages in which prayers from the Tibetan holy books are chanted.

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Bardan Gompa, Monastery, Zanskar, Ladakh

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Bardan Gompa is situated in Zanskar valley about 12 km from Padum , It is one of the first monastery in Zanskar belongs to the Dugpa-Kargyud monastic order. it was one of the first centers of Dugpa-Kargyud monastic order to be set up in Zanskar.

Bardan Gompa , Monastery, Padum, Zanskar, Ladakh

It is a branch of Stakna Gompa. About 45 monks live here. Bardan monastery was founded in the 16th century. consists of a large Dukhang, assembly hall. All the other structures within the monastery are  around the hall. There are some of the most magnificent statues of Buddhist divinities, along with some small stupas in clay, bronze, wood and copper. A shrine devoted to Maitreya.  A number of smaller monasteries in the region come under the management of Bardan monastery one such monastery is Sani Gompa.

Bardan Gompa , main entrace, Padum,Zanskar, Ladakh

The monks of Bardan Monastery participate in the unveiling of the idol in Sani Monastery. During this festival they perform the masked dances, as a part of the ritual. The other monastery lies very close to Bardan Monastery is Muney that is famous for its splendid architectural treasures.

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Ladakh Best dates to travel in year 2012

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Ladakh the beautiful landscape is one of the best places on earth unspoilt , nature at its best , crystal clear water lakes , snow-covered peaks of the great Himalayas  the clear blue sky , the highest roads in the world , over one thousand-year old monasteries , snow desert , the double hump camel,  the Indus river who has given birth to Indian civilization , age-old customs and the ever warm welcoming Ladakhi people who brave through the harsh weather throughout the year .

Ladhaki Shepherd Lady


Ladakh  is the cold desert of India is accessible to the world through out the year by air , the land route is open from May to October when it is comparatively warm and the high passes from Kashmir the Zozi – la ( 3528 mtrs)  and Fotu – la ( 4108 mtrs) are open and from Himachal little late and closes little early as the road passes through Rotang – la ( 3978 mtrs) , Baralacha – la ( 4892 mtrs.), Lachulung – la ( 5059 mtrs.)  and Tanglang  – la ( 5325 mtrs) .

One can visit Ladakh in Summers May to October to enjoy its beauty but if it is the festival period then the Ladakh is the best to visit following are the dates and festivals in the year 2012


Names of the Festival Venue   2012  
Spitok Gustor Spituk   JAN 21,22  
Dosmoche Leh ,Likir & Deskit Monasteries   FEB 19,20  
Stok Guru Tse-Cue Stok Monastery   Mar 2,3  
Matho Nagrang Matho Monastery   Mar 7,8  
Buddha Purnima Leh   MAY 4  
Hemis TSE-CHU Hemis Monastery   JUN 29,30  
Yuru Kabgyat (Lamayuru) Lamayuru Monastery   JUNE 16,17  
Zanskar Karsha Gustor Karsha Monastery   JUL 16,17  
Ph-Yang Tsedup (Phyang) Phyang Monastery   JUL 16,17  
Korzok Gustor (Tsomoriri Lake) Korzok Monastery   JUL 22,23  
Dak-Thok Tse-Chu Dakthok Monastery   JUL 28,29  
Sant Naro Nasjal (Zangskar) Sani Monastery, Zanskar   AUG 1,2  
Shachukul Gustor Shachukul Monastery   JUL 5,6  

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