Dhankar Monastery – Spiti Valley

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Dhankar Monastery, also referred to as Dhankar Gompa, is a Buddhist temple situated in the district of Spiti & Lahual in Himalyan region of Northern India. It is situated in Himachal Pradesh state. This Monastery is situated on a cliff between Kaza and Tabo. An amazing view of the Spiti river can be seen from here. This Monastery has a statue of ‘Vairocharan’ displaying four statues of Buddha seated in the 4 directions, along with ancient paintings, murals and texts.

The Dhankar Gomba is over 1000 years old and is connected to the rest of the valley through a Motorable road, which is good for small vehicle only. There is a new monastery in the small village of Shichilling below the old monastery. The old monastery is associated with the Great Translator, Rinchen Zanggpo, and its complex comprises a number of multi-storey buildings perched together.

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History

Dhankar was the traditional capital of the Spiti Valley Kingdom during the 17th century and has some features dating back to the 12th century. Dhang or dang means cliff, and kar or khar means fort. Hence, Dhankar means fort on a cliff. It was the place of the early ruler of Spiti, the Nonos, who has the right to promote the government lands nearby and were necessary to keep the fort in repair. They also gave justice to the people and were famous for their harsh penalties until the British replaced them. This Monastery is also widely known as the Lha-O-pa Gompa. This Monastery belongs to famous Gelukpa order.

Daily worship is done at the Dhankar Monastery by the temple monks at early morning and everyone is granted permission to take part in the holy worship. It also includes Mantra Chanting which is done under the control of monks of Monastery.

Above Dhankar is a fresh water lake about 1.5 km from the village at a height of 13500 ft acting as the source of water supply for the village. Set amidst lush green pastures, the lake offers a perfect idyllic camping site but locals do not allow camping at the lake anymore.

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