Thöling Monastery


Founded by Rinchen Zangpo in the 10th century, Thöling Monastery was once Ngari’s most important monastic complex. Atisha stayed here for three years during the second diffusion of Buddhism in Tibet. It was still functioning exactly 1000 years later in 1966 when the Red Guards took a sledgehammer to the chapel’s magnificent western Tibetan–style interiors. Three main buildings survive within the monastery walls.

Don't miss the lovely series of chörtens, mani walls and open views across the Sutlej Valley just north of the monastery.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ngari attractions

1. Main Assembly Hall

0.02 MILES

The dimly lit chamber of the dukhang has especially fine wall murals, showing strong Kashmiri and Nepali influences; bring a powerful torch (flashlight)…

2. White Chapel

0.04 MILES

The entry to this side chapel is marked by a finely carved deodar (cedar) door frame that originated in India. Inside are vibrant 15th- and 16th-century…

3. Yeshe Ö’s Mandala Chapel

0.08 MILES

Once the main building in the Thöling complex, Yeshe Ö’s Mandala Chapel was also known as the Golden Chapel. All the images have been destroyed but the…

4. Serkhang Chörten


A few steps east of the Thöling Monastery compound in Zanda is the recently restored Serkhang chörten. A similar chörten stands in total isolation just to…

5. Sutlej Bridge

1.79 MILES

If you have time to kill in Zanda, drive 4km east of town to this ancient iron link suspension bridge over the Sutlej River. It's thought to be one of the…

6. Lotsang Lhakhang

7.58 MILES

This ruined chapel is flanked by an ancient-looking chörten. Only the feet of the main statue remain inside but there are some lovely old thangkas on…

7. Mummy Cave


North of the main entrance to Tsaparang a trail follows a green river valley down about 700m to a cave on the left that holds the mummified remains of…

8. Tsaparang

7.65 MILES

The citadel of Tsaparang, 18km west of Zanda, is one of Western Tibet's great hidden gems. Dozens of ruined residences and chapels dot a naturally…