Phuktal Monastery is located in southern eastern Zanskar, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India. Gangsem Sherap Sampo founded this monastery in 12th century. Phuktal means cave. Other name of this monastery is Phugta Gompa.
What to see at Phuktal Monastery: Construction of this monastery is unique. This monastery looks like honey comb. For the Tibetan Buddhists, it is one of the holiest places. It is the home place to more than 70 monks. This gompa was explored when Alexander Csoma de Koros visited this place between 1826 – 27. He was the author of first English Tibetan Dictionary.
This monastery consists of a library and 4 prayer halls. Popular among the tourists are Frescoes and ceiling decorate the old chapel. It was constructed in 12th century. Only way to reach this gompa is through trekking. Gustor Festival celebrates so grandly at this place. This celebrates on 18th and 19th day of 12th month of Tibetan Calendar. Major attractions of this festival are mask dance and Cham dance.
What to see around Phuktal Monastery:
Padum: It was once acted as capital to Zanskar. Padum Valley is the major attraction of this place. Other attractions of this place are Starrimo Monastery and Trekking. It is located 16kms away from Zanskar.
Pipiting: It is located very near to Zanskar. This place is famous for several ancient temples and stupas. Other attraction near this place is Sani. This monastery has ancient chortens. It is constructed by Emperor Kanishka. Attractions of this Gompa are idols, paintings and murals of Saint Padmasambhava.
Rangdum Monastery: It lies between Kargil and padum. Main attraction of this monastery is assembly hall. This hall has beautiful status.
Tagrimo Monastery: It lies in the plains of Padum. Other name is Kagyupa Monastery. It is the house to 30 monks. This place is famous for 17th century paintings.
Sani Monastery: It is one of the 8 most sacred places for Buddhists. This place is most famous among Tibetan Buddhism. This monastery has ancient chortens. It is constructed by Emperor Kanishka. Attractions of this Gompa are idols, paintings and murals of Saint Padmasambhava.
Shergol Cave Monastery: This is well known for beautiful wall paintings. It gives the impression of hanging out of the mountain. This monastery is located in the middle of the mountain.
Padum Trekking Trails: Popular activities of Padum are river rafting and trekking. Trekking trails ranges from 1 day to 20 day trail.
Drang Drung Glacier: This is situated across Suru Valley in Jammu and Kashmir. It is surrounded by two small alpine lakes and snow covered peaks.
Getting to Phuktal Monastery: Trekking is the only option to reach this monastery. Trekking starts from Padum. The route from Padum passes through Rera, Pepula and Purne. This journey takes around 2 and days. All modes of transports are available only till Padum. Visitors can reach Padum place either from Jammu or from Srinagar or from Leh via Kargil through road. Nearest railway station is located at Jammu which is 735kms from padum. Nearest airports are located at Srinagar which is 431kms away from padum and Leh which is 487kms away from Padum.
Getting around Phuktal Monastery: This gompa can be explored on foot. Travelling through Jeeps is the best way to explore the places of Padum and surrounding places of Padum.
Best time to visit Phuktal Monastery: Best time to visit Phuktal Monastery is between mid of July to Mid of September. During rest of the seasons, Kargil and Padum road is covered with snow.
Where to stay in Phuktal Monastery: Hotels or guest houses are not available at this monastery. Visitors have to find arrangements for stay at the monastery.
Where to eat in Phuktal Monastery: Only option to have food at this monastery is, monks will serve food. Otherwise it is advisable to carry food hampers.