Dhankar Monastery

Dhankar is a famous tourist destination in Spiti. The main attraction here is the Dhankar Gompa, also known as the Dhankar Monastery, which is about 1,000 years old and is located at a height of around 3,370 m. In local dialect, the name ‘dhankar’ means fort, and the location was formerly the castle of Nono, the monarch of Spiti. During its early years of building, this fort monastery also served as a prison. 

This gravity-defying Gompa hangs from a cliff and overlooks the Pin River. It provides a breathtaking experience when you get your first glimpse of this facility. It has stood like a rock for about 1000 years. It is located at a height of 3894m between Kaza and Tabo in Spiti.

The term “Dhange” refers to a cliff, whereas “kar” refers to a fort. The complex is built using traditional elements such as stones, wood, and mud. Small windows are located in the walls of this monastery, allowing sunshine to enter and brighten the corners.

Several Buddhist books are written in the Bhoti script, and a life-size silver statue of Vajradhara (the supreme essence of all male Buddhas) lies on a glass altar adorned with scarves and flowers. Another feature is the figure of Vairochana or Dhayan Buddha, which is absolutely breathtaking and majestic. 

The medieval monastery, which served largely as a prison, is crumbling. As a result, Shichilling village now boasts a new monastery housing 100 lamas. Due to the deterioration of the building, several sections of this gompa have been completely abandoned, and a new gompa has been created in its place to entice visitors. The monastery is still in poor condition, and more than twenty individuals are not permitted to enter at the same time. This monastery is home to approximately 150 lamas. Visitors can also take a 2-kilometer trek to Dhankar Lake, which is located above the monastery. 

How To Reach

Your journey to Dhankar Monastery might begin in either Shimla or Manali. The fastest route is through Manali, however it is not available all year. As a result, Shimla is always the preferred route. Although you can only travel by road to the monastery, airlines and trains from your initial location to Shimla and Manali may be of assistance. 

You can take a cab from Manali to Kaza and then another taxi from Kaza to Dhankar Monastery, which is only 34 kilometers away. If you begin your tour in Shimla, take a taxi to Kaza and then descend between Tabo and Kaza at Dhankar to visit the Dhankar Monastery.

Buses from Manali arrive in Kaza by the evening of the same day, and from there you may hire a taxi to the monastery. You can take the bus from Shimla to Reckong Peo and then to Kaza. To get to the Dhankar Monastery, remember to drop off between Tabo and Kaza.

It is simple to drive yourself to the monastery while admiring the scenery along the way. You may reach Kaza by driving from Manali across the Rohtang Pass. It would take just under an hour to drive to the monastery from there. Just make sure you have a permit for driving on the Rohtang Pass in case of an emergency.

Best Time To Visit

Dhankar has a wonderful environment, and as a result, people visit this location all year. However, the winters in the region are extremely harsh, so it is best to avoid visiting during those months. The months of May through September are ideal for visiting this location. Summer temperatures range from 5 and 20 degrees Celsius, and the weather remains chilly.


Nearby places To Visit

Dhankar Fort

The vista from Dhankar Fort, which has been named one of the world’s 100 most endangered places, is compelling, and many visitors flock here to capture the beauty of this spectacular landmark. The major building of this fort is situated on a cliff base and is located just above the Monastery. 

Dhankar Lake

Dashair and Dhankar Lake is located near the Rohtang Pass at an elevation of 4270 meters above sea level. Sarkund is another name for the lake. Dashair and Dhankar Lakes are regarded to be half man-made and half natural. According to legend, King Puran Lal of Syalkot (now in Pakistan) visited the place and decided to build a lake.

Langza village

Langza village is 4400 meters above sea level and is separated into two sections: Langza Yongma (lower) and Langza Gongma (upper). The settlement is known for an ancient Lang or temple that is considered the headquarters of all the Spiti Valley’s Deities.

Langza Village is dominated by a statue of Lord Buddha overlooking the valley, a historic monastery, and mud houses, all of which travelers can see during their stay. Visitors can also travel within and around Langza to a few high altitude lakes and engage in adventure activities like mountaineering and hiking.

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Frequently Askee Questions

Dhankar was the capital of the Spiti Valley Kingdom in the 17th century and has certain elements from the 12th century. The monastery is around a thousand years old and has been a part of the Gelugpa School of order since year 1450.

Dhankar is located near the junction of the Spiti and Pin rivers. It is perched on a cliff at an altitude of about 3,894 meters (12,774 feet) and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The seventh-century Buddhist monastery is the world’s second highest, after Ki Monastery, and has served as a prominent center of Buddhist study since the seventh century.

The monastery is generally open to visitors during daylight hours. However, specific opening hours may vary, and it is advisable to check with local authorities or guides for the latest information.

Yes, Dhankar offers trekking opportunities for adventure enthusiasts. The trek to Dhankar Lake is a popular option. Trekkers should be well-prepared and consider the altitude and weather conditions.

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