Renowned as the second largest monastery in Zanskar, Stongdey monastery is 18 km from Padum in Zanskar region in Jammu and Kashmir.
Founded in 1052 AD, the Ladakh monastery is also called Marpling as it was founded by Tibetan Lama Lhodak Marpa Choski Lodos.
It houses about 60 monks, the monastery belongs to Gelugpa order of Buddhism which was introduced by the Lama Gyaltsampa Tundup Palzangpo. The monastery is managed by the successors of Nari Tulku.
Like other monasteries in Ladakh, the white-washed monastery complex is constructed in Tibetan style of architecture. Strategically constructed at the top of a rocky cliff, the monastery offers panoramic views of Zanskar region.
There are number of shrines in the monastery. Images of Buddha, ancient murals, thangkas, religious scriptures in the monastery are must sees.
The monastery has strong influence over the surrounding villages and plays an important part in the life of the locals.
The annual Gustor festival is celebrated with great vigour and enthusiasm. It is also the best time to view the handicrafts created by the locals and take part in local sporting events. Mask dance by Lamas is the highpoint of the festival.
The monastery also figures high on the list of trekkers and mountaineers.
WHERE TO STAY
Options to stay are limited. Homestays run by the locals are the only option tourist can find near the monastery. Villagers charge nominal price for allowing tourists to stay at their homes. The price includes meals.
WHERE TO EAT
There are no hotels or restaurants close to the monastery. Villagers serve food if you ask for or if you are staying in their house. They charge very nominal rates for it.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time visit the monastery is between July to early November as rest of the year the region remains snowbound.
BEST TIME TO VISIT ZANSKAR
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Zanskar is as given below. The best time to visit Zanskar is also specified.