Saspol Caves


The orchard town of Saspol is backed by a conglomerate promontory topped with the ruins of Toyos Khar fortress-palace. Somehow still surviving in the crumbling cliffsides are several unprotected caves, of which at least three remain covered with 10th-to-11th century Buddhist murals. Such caves were used as meditation retreat chambers as early as the 4th century BC.

To reach the caves, take the unpaved road north off the NH1 at Km371, then after 800m walk up the zigzagging footpath.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ladakh attractions

1. Saspol Chamba

0.33 MILES

Almost opposite the small SBI Bank (not the ATM, which is 200m further east), a small shop hides the entrance to an unexpectedly impressive trio of 5m…

2. Choskhor Temple Complex

2.03 MILES

The original murals and statues within these four outwardly modest 11th-century temples are considered the crowning glory of Ladakh’s Indo-Tibetan art…

3. Rizong Gompa

3.34 MILES

Stepped handsomely within a hidden amphitheatre of rocky cliff, this lonely but much-revered little 19th-century monastery is famous for its code of…

4. Likir Gompa

4.34 MILES

Though founded in 1065, this monastery’s current incarnation as a Gelukpa monastery originated in the 15th century. The main prayer hall to the right on…

5. Basgo Palace

6.93 MILES

Rising above Basgo village on a surreal collection of eroded earthen pinnacles are the photogenic stubs of a once-great palace dating from when Basgo was…

6. Sumdha Chun Temple

8.07 MILES

The remote monastery at tiny Sumdha Chun boasts some splendid Alchi-style carvings that are directly linked to Tibet's 'Great Translator' Ringchen Zangpo.

7. Ney Buddha

8.29 MILES

The golden form of Ney's 21st-century Buddha statue is claimed to be 26m tall. In reality it looks about half that high but is still an impressive sight…

8. Timishgan Khar

10.98 MILES

Originally King Dragpa-Bum's 15th-century fortress, Timishgan's three-storey palace site has an obvious defensive strength commanding the confluence of…