Strategically built at highest location in Spiti Valley, Dhankar Monastery was once the capital of Spiti in 17th century. It is one of the five main Buddhist centres and tourist destinations in Spiti region.
Centrally located in Spiti region, Dhankar Monastery offers panoramic view of the Spiti valley. It is situated in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh in north India.
Even in ancient times, it was chosen by the Nonos to have better control and safety from its enemy. The Dhankar fort was traditional home for the Nonos, the royals of Spiti.
Remote and cut off from other parts of the country, modernization has bypassed Dhankar. Dhankar is situated at the confluence of Spiti and Pin Rivers.
The seventh century Buddhist monastery is the second highest in the world after Ki Monastery and an important centre of Buddhist learning since the seventh century. The new monastery has been constructed at Shichilling Village and houses about 150 Lamas.
The monasteries belong to Gelugpa Order of Tibetan Buddhism. The statue of Vairochana or Meditating Buddha’s idol forms the centre of the monastery. Monastery has ancient murals, thankas, Buddhist scriptures that are worth seeing.
Besides the Dhankar Monastery, there are several other tourist places to see. Dhankar is also popular with tourists.
Just 2.5 km from the monastery, is the Dhankar lake which is surrounded by glacier mountains. Surrounded by mountains and due to its remote location, only trekkers prefer to go to the site.
From Dhankar, one can also head to Tabo Monastery, 26 km away and Pin Valley National Park, home to the rare ibex and snow leopard.
Yak and Yetty have lodges to stay with nominal charges. Staying with the locals is another option. There are no hotels or resorts available.
Small eating outlets are the only options to eat at Dhankar. Locals do also provide food but you will have to place an order first. Dhankar is predominantly vegetarian.
Best time to visit Kaza is during summer from May to October. From October end, Rohtang Pass remains closed due to snowfall.