Takthok monastery is the only monastery in Ladakhwhich belongs to Nying-ma-pa sect or Red Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Known as the ‘old order’ monastery, it is located in Shakti village about 46 km from Leh in Ladakh district in Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state of India. The monastery was founded in 16th century during the reign of King Tshewang Namgyal. All the rooms in the monastery were either carved out of the mountain or existing caves made into rooms. All the walls and the roof are made of rocks. Hence, the locals call the monastery Takthok which means ‘rock roof’.
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The monastery has a temple, a Dukhang which stands for an assembly hall and caves. These caves are believed to have been used for meditation by Padmasambhava during the 8th century. The dukhang has statues of Maitreya, Padmasambhava and Dorje Takposal. The cave called Duphug Lhakhang is a popular pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhists. Buddhists set out on the pilgrimage to be blessed by dubchu (holy water). The monastery is also famous as it houses the Kandshur, the sacred book of Buddha’s teachings in 108 volumes, along with other sets of Buddhist volumes written by Lamas to protect people against evil spirits, curses and epidemics.
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These were written with pure gold and silver letters. Lamas use the text at the time of birth of baby, death of a person or for other rituals. Lamas also predict future of a person by reading the scriptures. The monastery’s new temple is also a major attraction and is known for its murals, paintings and statues of Buddha. It was consecrated by 14th Dalai Lama in 1980. Festivals at the Takthok monastery attract a lot of locals as well as tourists. Dance especially cham dance by the Lamas is very popular.
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Though there aren’t any fancy hotels and lodges, there are PWD guest houses and homestays to make your stay memorable. The monastery also provides basic accommodation. The guest houses in Shakti village usually have caretakers who’ll be more than happy to prepare a meal or two for you if you plan at staying here. There aren’t too many places you can experiment with eating options, so carrying some packaged food with you is recommended. The best season to visit Takthok monastery is between the months of June and September as rest of the year, the region remains snowbound.
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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