Situated right across Thiksey Monastery on the bank of Indus river, the 16th century Matho Monastery is about 20 km south of Leh in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. Founded by Lama Dugpa Dorje, Matho is the only monastery which follows Sakya order of Tibetan Buddhism. Matho monastery is modeled on the Saskya monastery in Tibet. The monastery is home to about 60 lamas and 30 novitiates. Matho Monastery is popular for the celebration of festival called Matho Nagrang. It is also famous for its oracles.
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During festivals, the Cham dance and the act of oracles are breathtaking. The acts of oracles under the influence of supernatural powers, leaves everyone in awe and fear as the oracles often run barefoot on the parapets of the monastery roof. The festival of the oracles is held during the Buddhist New Year, which usually falls in the first half of March. The lamas, chosen as oracles every three years, have to undergo months of fasting and meditation to purify themselves. While in trance, the oracles answer questions about the future of Matho and Ladakh as well as personal questions. The monastery comprises dukhang which stands for the assembly hall, temples and chapels. The Dukhang has walls that are full of paintings. Besides the paintings of Buddha and other deities, the monastery also has statues of Maitreya, Sakyamuni, the blessing Buddha and a thousand-armed statue of Avalokitesvara. The chapels have images of Sakya Pandita and lamas. The museum inside the monastery houses beautiful old thangkas, some believed to have been brought from Tibet in 16th century.
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ccommodation options are limited in Matho as there are no hotels in Matho. Tourists visiting Matho generally stay at Leh and visit the monastery for the day. Leh offers several accommodation options from budget to luxury. There are no restaurants or hotels in Matho. There are few small stalls which sell snacks and soft drinks. It would be advisable to carry food hampers while visiting Matho. The best time to visit Matho is between May and September, when the weather remains warm. Most of the routes remain closed after November due to heavy snowfall.
Photograph courtesy: Martin Sojka/Creative Commons
BEST TIME TO VISIT LADAKH
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Ladakh is as given below. The best time to visit Ladakh is also specified.
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