Dhankar Gompa

Top choice buddhist monastery in Dhankar

Image by Frank Bienewald Getty Images

The spectacular 1200-year-old Dhankar Gompa perches precariously between eroded rocky pinnacles on the edge of a cliff. One glance at the crumbling cliffs and it's clear why it was listed in 2006 as one of the world's 100 most endangered monuments. The top-floor courtyard of the main building has a stuffed goat hanging above the stairwell and four rooms around it, including one where the Dalai Lama slept, a meditation cave, and a shrine containing ceremonial masks.

Another prayer hall stands on the hilltop above, accessed by a separate set of concrete steps. Ask at nearby Tashi & Zangpo Guest House if you want to go inside and see its murals of the Buddha of healing. The views from these buildings are phenomenal.