Diskit Gompa

Buddhist Monastery in Diskit

Directly above Old Diskit, a 2km spaghetti of hairpins winds up to this fabulous monastery complex, much of which dates to between the 14th and 17th centuries. It's a brilliant jumble of Tibetan-style box buildings piled higgledy-piggledy up a steep, rocky peak that ends in a toe-curlingly vertical chasm. At the back right-hand corner of the atmospheric gonkhang (guardian spirits' temple), a white six-armed deity statue clasps a withered forearm and a human skull, supposedly body parts of a Mongol warrior who mysteriously dropped dead when attempting to seize the monastery.

Note that entry times vary and some shrines close early and at lunchtime, dependent on the duties of the various monks. The entry fee includes access to a gigantic (32m) full-colour Chamba statue on an intermediate hill, formally inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in July 2010. At the point where the two access lanes bifurcate, a monastery restaurant serves up a fair selection of meals.